Jim Olson

Jim recently helped start up the Engineering Translational Technology Center (ETTC) at the University of California, Davis. ETTC is a technology development center established by the UC Davis College of Engineering to accelerate the transition of high-impact innovative research from the college to technology development and commercialization. As a “Business Specialist” in ETTC, Jim advises participating companies in all aspects of company formation, strategy, and financing.

Most recently, Jim was executive vice president of video compression systems at TANDBERG Television. He became part of the company’s senior management team in April 2006 following TANDBERG’s acquisition of SkyStream, where he was president and chief executive officer. At TANDBERG, his global role was focused on building and marketing the TANDBERG Television video compression offering to ensure that the company was in the pole position to enable operators and content owners to meet consumer needs in an all digital, on-demand, interactive, and personalized world. Jim left TANDBERG in early 2007, when ERICSSON acquired TANDBERG for $1.4 billion.

Jim joined SkyStream as its first and only CEO in 1997, bringing with him two decades of success in the broadcast video, data communications, Internet, and media industries. During his time at SkyStream, the company built a very profitable, leadership position in IP video head-end equipment. Jim oversaw the development and launch of SkyStream’s award-winning products, the Mediaplex-20 video head-end, the iPlex video head-end, the Source Media Router, and the Edge Media Router. In 1999, Jim drove the acquisition of Varuna Software, resulting in SkyStream’s expansion into the video software market with zBand Content Distribution Software, now a leading PUSH Videoon-Demand solution. Under Jim’s direction, the company earned many high profile customers and partners, including EchoStar Communications (DISH Network), Reuters Group PLC, Disney Inc., CNN, Comcast, NTT, TDS Telecom, Fairpoint Communications, SiTV – the first IPTV deployment in China, Shanghai Stock Exchange, and China Central Television; as well as many leading Telco and Cable service providers in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

While at SkyStream, Jim raised money from some of the top venture investors in the world. These include, IVP, Mayfield Fund, Norwest Ventures, Integral Capital, 3i, AOLTime Warner, Comcast Ventures, and Shaw Communications. From 2000 through 2003, Jim led SkyStream through the steepest technology spending downturn in history and in early 2003, raised an additional $29M from these investors returning 2X their invested capital in early 2006. SkyStream grew year over year every year from inception through exit.

Before joining SkyStream, Jim was senior vice president and general manager of Wide Area Network Operations at 3Com Corporation, a multi-billion dollar supplier of advanced data networking products, where he led five operating divisions. Prior to 3Com, Jim spent 22 years at Hewlett-Packard Company. As General Manager of the Stanford Park Division, HP’s oldest business, he led a successful business transformation into the Video Communications Division, and was responsible for the company’s award winning video server business and strategy. He oversaw the launch of a series of new products including the industry’s first plain paper video printer and the award-winning MediaStream video server product family. Jim’s leadership in this successful turnaround was featured in several business management books including, among others: “Reengineering Management”, by James Champy; “How to Drive Your Competition Crazy”, by Guy Kawasaki; and “Megamedia Shakeout”, by Kevin Maney. This remarkable business transformation was also featured in USA Today, Fortune, Business Week, the Financial Times, and Silicon Valley’s own San Jose Mercury.

Jim is an active angel investor. Recent investments include Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics (www.actmed.net) and Dysonics (www.dysonics.com).

A valued member of the industry, Jim has been a featured speaker at the Business Week Telecom Summit, Vortex, the Economist’s 21st Century Internet Summit, Digital Media Outlook and DBS’ Five Burning Questions, among others. He is a guest lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and the University of California, Davis, Graduate School of Management. Jim is an accomplished motivational speaker, and author.

Jim holds a BSEE degree from the University of California, Davis, and MSEE and MBA degrees from Santa Clara University.