Twitch launched in 2007 as a “Justin.tv.” Meanwhile, Twitch is by far the most popular livestreaming platform in the world. But what are the founders of Twitch doing today?
With around 5.8 million hours watched, Twitch is currently the world’s most popular live streaming platform for gaming. Every day, users flock here to stream video games live, play e-sports or simply be creative. But the beginnings of the company were much more modest.
In 2007, Justin Kan, Emmet Shear, Kyle Vogt and Michael Seibel launched the platform Twitch, which at that time was still called “Justin.tv”. The four founders sold their company to Amazon in 2014 in a crazy deal. What has happened in the lives of Kan, Shear, Vogt and Seibel since then and what are the founders of Twitch doing today?
Founder of Twitch: Emmet Shear
Emmet Shear has remained loyal to Twitch over the years. He currently serves as CEO of Twitch. Here he is campaigning for a fair expansion of the offer – for example through a cooperation with the US women’s national soccer team. Shear is also a partner of venture capital firm Y Combinator.
In 2016, Emmet Shear even appeared on television. He plays himself in the documentary “A New Hero: The Rise of College Esports.”
Fundraiser in the Corona Pandemic
In addition to his work, Shear is also committed to humanitarian causes. In March 2020, for example, at the beginning of the corona pandemic, he used the Twitch platform to raise nearly four million US dollars in a twelve-hour fundraiser.
Of this, $2.77 million went to the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Solidarity Fund. One million, in turn, went to a local non-profit organization in San Francisco that helps small businesses.
Otherwise, relatively little is known about the private life of the Twitch founder, as Shear keeps a very low profile here in public.
Founder of Twitch: Justin Kan
Justin Kan is someone who has always been interested in many projects and works on several ideas and companies at the same time. In addition to Twitch, for example, he founded the tech company “Exec” in 2012, where users can outsource small jobs for $25 per hour.
Shortly before that, in 2011, he had launched (among others with Twitch co-founder Michael Seibel) the mobile social video app “Socialcam”, which the software company Autodesk bought in 2012 for 60 million US dollars.
Consulting for start-ups and founders
After Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014, Kan left the company and, like Shear, joined Y Combinator as a partner. Here he advised new start-ups for three years. In 2017, Kan Y left Combinator to launch his own incubator called Zero-F.
In addition, Kan launched the music platform “The Drop” in 2015, where curious people can discover new music. Another project by Justin Kan was the legal tech company “Atrium”, which has not existed since 2020.
On his YouTube channel, Kan regularly gives tips for founders and also talks very openly about the stress he felt during Twitch times and how he has since tried to focus less on the money and more on the quality of his life.
He is also an avid follower of transcendental meditation.
Founder of Twitch: Kyle Vogt
Kyle Vogt has been on board since the early days of Justin.tv. He was later called a “creative genius” who used his programming skills to solve many of the company’s problems and develop the camera system that the platform needed for live streaming.
After the Amazon deal, Vogt left Twitch. Since then, he has focused primarily on autonomous vehicles. In 2013, he founded Cruise Automation, a start-up that was also part of the Y Combinator.
In 2016, Vogt sold Cruise Automation to General Motors for a billion US dollars, contributing – unconsciously – to a curious brand dispute between General Motors and Ford.
Founder of Twitch: Michael Seibel
Michael Seibel was also a founding member of Justin.tv and was also involved in the change of the platform to Twitch. He has also been part of the Y-Combinator team since 2013 and CEO of the core unit since 2019. Y Combinator is calledthe most successful accelerator for start-ups worldwide.
In June 2020, Michael Seibel joined Reddit as a new board member after former CEO Alexis Ohanian (and husband of tennis star Serena Williams) announced his retirement.
“I look forward to providing advice and guidance,” Seibel said as he took up his new post. At the end of 2020, Michael Seibel was also appointed to the Board of Directors at Dropbox.