Former CEO of Yahoo! Marissa Mayer has announced that she’s setting up a new startup incubator in Google’s old offices in Palo Alto, California. In an interview to The New York Times, she revealed that the incubator “lab” was called Lumi Labs, following her love for snow (‘lumi’ is the Finnish word for snow). The new company’s website states that it is “focused in the consumer media and artificial intelligence space”. Marissa co-founded Lumi Labs along with former colleague Enrique Muñoz Torres, who used to be SVP of Search and Advertising at Yahoo and a Product Manager at Google. Marissa later tweeted about the development:
Marissa was the 20th employee at Google and worked at the search engine giant for 13 years before switching to Yahoo! in 2012 as President and CEO. At Google, Marissa was a part of the Google Search, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Product Search, Google Toolbar, iGoogle, and Gmail teams, and was well-known and respected in the company. However, her Yahoo! tenure ran into quite a few problems, with Silicon Valley constantly second-guessing her actions, despite a series of positive returns for Yahoo! shareholders.
Marissa finally left Yahoo! in June 2017 after Verizon Communications bought the company’s core business for $4.8 billion. Marissa is widely believed to have received a compensation package around $260 million as part of the deal, including the value of her shares at Yahoo! as well as severance. There has been plenty of speculation about her next step after leaving Yahoo!, and Lumi Labs appears to be Marissa’s move into the startup space.
Marissa is the second former CEO to move into the incubation and entrepreneurship space in recent months. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced in early March this year that he was setting up a new investment fund to focus “on job creation in emerging markets like India and China”. The new fund, named 10100 (ten-one-hundred), made its first investment later in the same month, funnelling $150 million into City Storage Systems (CSS), a holding company and startup that repurposes “distressed” real estate properties like old parking lots or abandoned strip malls to turn them into useful properties for businesses like food delivery or online retail. Travis took over as CSS’s CEO after the funding announcement.
Marissa has not yet revealed her plans for Lumi Labs. However, she told The New York Times that she’s “been meeting with different founders and just seeing what’s happening in the industry”, and people interesting in joining Lumi Labs “in developing some projects and prototypes” are welcome to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter (@labslumi).