The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Ryan Allis, who along with co-founder Aaron Houghton sold Morrisville-based email marketing firm iContact for $169 million in February, is gearing up to launch a new company from a new home.

Allis is now calling the Bay Area home and is hiring for a “Stealth Starship” that will focus on what he calls “organizing the world’s human relationships.”

In a personal blog about the venture and in his profile at CrunchBase, Allis acknowledges the Silicon Valley move and plans for the new company.

Along with co-founder Anima Sarah LaVoy, Allis said the as yet named (at least publicly) venture is “a mobile/web software start-up focused on organizing the world’s human relationships and enabling the scaling of personal connection much more efficiently than existing tools.”

Allis and LaVoy are “actively seeking four exceptional founding technical team members (CTO/Chief Architect, Data Scientist, API Engineer, Sr Engineer) with mobile and/or big data experience to join their company and 5-person team in Noe Valley, San Francisco. The company’s name is not being widely shared for a few more weeks while the team acquires domain assets.”

According to Allis, the “Stealth Starship” is “focused on products at the intersection of machine learning, relationship mapping, big data, and beautiful design. Our first product is a mobile and web application that combines left-brain data analytics with right-brain visual creativity to connect humans more intuitively. We are focused on building a company for the long-term as a platform for solving some of humanity’s greatest challenges. We have a global social consciousness in our core combined with the mindset of fast-moving, pragmatic, systems-thinking builders. We are happy to share more on the problem set we are solving for in person or via Skype.”

Allis writes that “Anima is our Chief People, Philosophy, and Psychology Officer (C3PO for the Star Wars fans out there), holds an Oxford MBA, and is the founder of Swing Semester. Together with our quickly growing team of five, we’re working out of a spacious home in Noe Valley/Eureka Heights in San Francisco this summer, and plan to get an office in the Mission this Fall.”

Initial funding for the venture is being provided by Allis, who also is an investor in several other startups.

If all goes well, Allis says his initial team will be in place by mid-July.

“We are looking for individuals who are both highly technically competent and passionate about making a difference in the world,” he adds in the recruiting pitch. “We can offer a strong compensation package, an early equity position, and an amazing experience with super fun and passionate people. While we’re open to individuals from multiple backgrounds, we’re primarily seeking applicants from Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, and Salesforce who want to get involved in an earlier-stage company in which they will have more daily impact and return potential.”

The job descriptions:

  • Technical Co-Founder / CTO / Architect – Looking for a founding CTO player/coach who has built and exited a company or played a VP / C-level role in a company of 30-500 employees. Must be comfortable with mobile apps, social APIs, and big data architecture and able to manage but also structure, code, and build. Looking for someone to drive the technical direction for a company out to solve an immensely challenging technical problem.
  • Data Scientist – Seeking data scientist that can set up incoming pipes of government, social, and public data, and create algorithms to intelligently process and categorize petabytes of data. Familiarity with Hadoop, Redis, and similar technologies is very helpful.
  • API Engineer – Seeking API engineer who can structure, build, and document the product API from the beginning and initially connect into developer networks.
  • Senior Engineer – Experience with high volume scalability and security a plus. Knowledge of Python/PHP/JSON, social APIs, security, and big data architecture helpful.

If you want to apply, send email to: