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Viki Video Site Founder Leaves CEO Spot, Stays at Rakuten

Razmig Hovaghimian will stay on at the Japanese e-commerce conglomerate, in multiple roles.

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Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.
Razmig Hovaghimian

Razmig Hovaghimian, who founded Web video site Viki and sold it to Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant, is leaving his CEO post.

Hovaghimian, who recently moved from Viki’s Singapore base to San Francisco, will keep working at Rakuten, where he’s now the company’s first entrepreneur in residence. That means he gets to work on ideas inside and outside the company, he told Re/code, while declining to explain what he’s focused on right now. But here’s a hint: One of his other titles at Rakuten is head of video.

Viki is sort of a global version of Hulu, providing translated versions of dramas and comedies, in more than 200 different languages. The site, which relies on a community of volunteers to handle translation, had about 20 million users when Rakuten acquired it in 2013, and now has more than 35 million.

Hovaghimian, a former executive at NBCUniversal*, raised around $25 million over five years while building the company. Rakuten acquired it for $200 million. Rakuten has been on a buying spree over the past couple years: Last year alone it spent $900 million on messaging app Viber, and then another billion dollars on retailer Ebates.

Tammy Nam, Viki’s chief marketing officer, has taken over the CEO spot; Hovaghimian will remain the company’s executive chairman.

* NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Revere Digital, Re/code’s parent company.

This article originally appeared on

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