October 12, 1998 1:35 PM PDT

Top execs join start-up

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Former top executives from Netscape Communications and PointCast are quietly laying the groundwork for an e-commerce start-up.

Named Emptor, or Latin for "buyer," the nascent firm expects funding from both Benchmark Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Chief executive Danny Shader, formerly a vice president at Netscape, declined to comment on the new firm, except to confirm that it is an "e-commerce services" firm located in San Francisco, with funding in process from Benchmark and Kleiner Perkins.

He also confirmed that PointCast's former senior vice president of marketing Jaleh Bisharat will join Emptor as vice president of marketing, and PointCast's former senior vice president of sales Douglas Boake will join the firm as vice president of business development.

Bisharat and Boake last week left PointCast during a management reorganization. (See related story)

At Netscape, Shader served as vice president of partner and developer relations. Prior to his employment at Netscape, Shader was vice president of OEM sales and business development for Collabra Software, which Netscape acquired in 1995. Shader also is an "Entrepreneur in Residence" at Benchmark.

Emptor's Web site currently is inaccessible, but search engines turn up the following mission statement from the company: "We enhance person-to-person electronic commerce with privacy, safety, and convenience."

The founding of Emptor helps solidify a trend among executives who are leaving large companies to nurture start-ups, some of them funded by Benchmark and Kleiner Perkins. Other recent examples include Peter Neupert, who played a key role in Microsoft's Internet and cable strategies, and who became CEO of Kleiner Perkins-funded Drugstore.com. AMD and Intel executive Vinod Dham recently became president and CEO of semiconductor start-up Silicon Spice. Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Hawkins, who sold their Palm Computing business to U.S. Robotics, which was later acquired by 3Com, are working on another Kleiner Perkins and Benchmark venture to make handheld computers. (See related story)


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