Some seven months after Ning was acquired by Glam Media, former CEO Jason Rosenthal has a new gig: he’s now the CEO of light field camera company Lytro. The company announced Tuesday that Rosenthal’s installation is effective April 15. Founder and former CEO Ren Ng will remain as executive chairman.
If you’re unfamiliar with Lytro—or with point-and-shoot cameras in general—Lytro is actually onto something interesting. The company has developed a fun-shaped “light field” camera that allows you to focus the picture after it’s been taken. To be specific, the camera comes equipped with a microlens array in front of the sensor, which scatters the incoming light based on the angle of the camera. The camera then uses the information from the scattered light to determine where the light would have ended up if the camera had been focused.
The downside is that you end up sacrificing resolution. And you can’t share the photos from the camera either—you have to upload the pics to your computer and then share.
So it looks like the company has its work cut out for it as it pits itself against a number of established heavyweights, like Nikon and Canon.
So why Jason Rosenthal? His past CEO roles haven’t involved cameras or even hardware.
In our search for the right leader to take Lytro into its next phase of growth, we sought someone with the talent to amplify what the company has started, the experience to drive our talented team and ambitious roadmap, and the determination to transform photography in profound and lasting ways,” said interim CEO Charles Chi, in a statement. “Jason embodies all of that with a proven track record of leading teams that brought the future to life at organizations like Netscape, AOL, and Ning. His passion and expertise made him the perfect choice to lead Lytro into its next chapter.”
Since saying goodbye to Ning last fall, Rosenthal has been an operating executive at investment firm Silver Lake. Prior to that, he led the transition at Ning from a free, ad-supported model to a paid subscription model, which grew paid subscribers to 100,000 from 17,000 in 18 months. The company saw 60 million monthly active users.
“Lytro has already made tremendous strides towards its vision of revolutionizing photography as we know it,” said Rosenthal, in a statement. “The management team has assembled a talented organization of photography pioneers and product visionaries and I’m proud to be leading them as Lytro continues to help the world realize the vast creative potential of the light field and living pictures.”