Emmett Shear is a successful online entrepreneur and investor from the United States. He is a co-founder of the live video network Justin.tv. He was the CEO of Twitch once it was spun off from Justin.tv until March 2023. In 2011, he was selected as a part-time partner at the venture financing firm Y Combinator. Emmett Shear took on a brief role as OpenAI’s interim CEO in November 2023.
Founding Twitch and Early Ventures
Shear’s earlier career was notably marked by his role as the CEO of Twitch, a leading live video streaming platform, which he helmed until March 2023. Under his leadership, Twitch emerged from its origins as Justin.tv, transforming into a global streaming giant. Additionally, Shear contributed his expertise as a part-time partner at the renowned venture capital firm Y Combinator.
Formative Years and Education
Growing up in Seattle, Washington, Emmett Shear’s early life was intertwined with technology and innovation. He attended the Evergreen School for Gifted Children, where he first crossed paths with his future co-founder Justin Kan. The duo shared interests in math and gaming, particularly in “Magic: The Gathering.” Shear later pursued a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Yale University, alongside Kan and another future collaborator, Michael Siebel.
Shear’s entrepreneurial spirit was evident early on. During his senior year at Yale, he and Kan developed Kiko, a calendar application, through Y Combinator. Despite the challenges posed by Google Calendar’s introduction, they successfully sold Kiko on eBay. In 2006, Shear, Kan, Seibel, and Kyle Vogt started Justin.tv. Initially a 24/7 live video feed of Kan’s life, it evolved into a comprehensive live video streaming platform.
Twitch: Revolutionizing Gaming Streaming
In 2011, the team pivoted to focus on gaming content, launching TwitchTV. Twitch rapidly became a dominant force in the live streaming sector, particularly in gaming. In 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch for approximately $970 million, a testament to its immense success and influence.
Contributions to Y Combinator
Shear’s engagement with Y Combinator as a part-time partner further exemplifies his commitment to nurturing new startups.
Philanthropy and Community Impact
Shear’s philanthropic efforts, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrate his commitment to community welfare. Through Twitch, he initiated a $1 million donation to SF New Deal, supporting the provision of meals to those in need in San Francisco.
Emmett Shear’s journey from a tech-savvy youth in Seattle to a pioneering leader in AI and live streaming exemplifies a blend of innovative thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and a commitment to leveraging technology for positive societal impact.