Myspace Founders Find Success In Startup Ventures
Very few people who were part of the original Myspace are still with the company. After being sold to News Corp for a whopping $580 million dollars in 2006, and again to Justin Timberlake and Specific Media for a more paltry $35 million in 2011, it has changed hands (and designs) several times. Now its a music sharing service where big name bands and major online brands promote themselves. But this doesnt mean that the team who founded to the original social network has gone away. Most of them have stayed in L.A., quietly working the next wave of online innovation.
When entrepreneurs want to make their mark in the startup world, they usually move to the cooler climate of bay area, whether there is a higher concentration of tech talent and startup capital. But the early employees of Myspace took a different approach by ?keeping their companies in the warmer weather of Los Angeles, the city where the social network first started.
Among the earliest employees was Amit Kapur, who interviewed for a marketing job in 2005 just a year after graduating college. After chatting with Myspace co-founder Chris DeWolfe for a few hours, he was offered a position as head of business development. Despite the fact that he had little experience in the field, he accepted the daunting job, and helped the site grow into the behemoth that it became.
Amit went on to found Gravity, a site designed to help personalize the web browsing experience. He says that the risky hiring practices that landed him that valuable job at Myspace is used at his own company. One of things I learned from Chris, he said, was to hire people that have the potential to do great things, well beyond what their experience and skill set show.
The Courage To Take Risks
Another Myspace Alum, Josh Brooks, was the Vice President of Marketing for the company from 2005 to 2008. While at this position, he wrote an audacious plan to stream a live music and comedy show for 10,0000 American troops in the Kuwait Camp Buehring. Despite the unproven ideas and daunting logistical challenges, the C-level employees let him run with plan. The project was a complete success. Music was streamed to 3.5 million Myspace users and shown as a 1 hour special on FX.
Brooks uses the same sort of high-concept promotions to grow his own startup On The Run Tech, a company that creates apps that help users turn their digital photos into tangible goods.
Fertile Soil For Innovative Ideas
In total, founding members of Myspace went on to create a total of 8 startups: Gravity, The Social Gaming Network, Beachmint, On the Run Tech, Gobbler, and Eclipse.io.
While none of the sites have grown into the industry-changing icon that Myspace was at its peak, they have been unusually successful for such a small group of people. In fact, Paul Bricault, a venture capitalist at Greycroft Partners said, In terms of creating enterprise value, of starting companies that are hiring and generating revenue, Id say by far this is the most successful aggregation of entrepreneurs that has yet come out of L.A.
The world will just have to wait and see what the Myspace crew accomplishes next.
Kevin McCarney is a blogger from Marfa, Texas. He writes about social media, business, and innovation.