Xbox's Nancy Tellem Joins Board of E-Commerce Startup

Christopher Patey
Nancy Tellem

She is also an investor in Dot & Bo

Xbox's Nancy Tellem is bringing her storytelling skills to the home decor space. 

The longtime entertainment industry executive has joined the board of directors of San Francisco e-commerce startup Dot & Bo, the company announced Wednesday morning. Tellem was one of the early angel investors in Dot & Bo, and her appointment to the board expands on her relationship with the company, which curates furniture and decor items into daily collections that can be purchased. 

Dot & Bo was founded in 2013 by CEO Anthony Soohoo, Eric Hikade and Jonah Schwartz to combine e-commerce and content. In addition to the hand-selected collections, the startup also offers decorating tips and advice. Tellem first met Soohoo at CBS while she was president of the CBS Network Television Entertainment Group and he was senior vp and general manager of the entertainment division of CBS Interactive. 

"I considered her a mentor when I joined CBS," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I worked with her for a number of years and I saw that she understood how to take content and make it engaging in an interactive setting." 

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He says it's Tellem's storytelling ability that makes her such an important asset to Dot & Bo, explaining that the company wants to use the items it sells to create a narrative about interior design. "Everyone talks about content and commerce, but it's pretty rare to get someone with a background like Nancy's," he adds. "She understands how to think through content and product strategies. It's an unique blend and we certainly wanted to take advantage of it." 

Tellem says she was struck by the way that Dot & Bo uses storytelling to connect with its target demographic: twenty-something, tech-savvy consumers. 

"What excites me about what Anthony has built is that he's applied these television principals in new ways," she says. "Through e-commerce, content and tech, he has really cracked the code on how to reach this millennial audience." 

Tellem currently serves as president of entertainment and digital media at Microsoft, where she has overseen the creation of Xbox Entertainment Studios, the Redmond, Wash.,-based tech firm's interactive content studio. Xbox head Phil Spencer announced in July that the studio would be shuttered as part of a company-wide reorganization. But Tellem says she is still involved with XES on a daily basis and is exploring options for the studio, which has a number of projects in the pipeline including a Steven Spielberg-produced Halo series.  

"I've really enjoyed my time with Microsoft," she adds. "It's a unique opportunity, after spending my years in traditional media, to be deeply involved in a tech company. It's expanded my perspective." 

Tellem joins current Dot & Bo board members Soohoo, Gus Tai of Trinity Ventures and Fred Harman of Oak Investment Partners.