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Justin Kan

Justin Kan

Justin Kan is an American entrepreneur, investor, and web developer, known for cofounding several technology companies, including Atrium, Socialcam, Justin.tv, and Twitch.

Justin Kan is an American entrepreneur, investor, and web developer. He was born July 16, 1983, in Seattle, Washington. Kan is a former partner of the seed incubator Y Combinator and has founded several successful technology companies that include Atrium, Whale, Twitch, Justin.tv, Socialcam, Kiko, Fractal, and Exec. He has also founded his own start-up incubator called Zero-F and a hybrid incubator called Goat Capital.

Education
Evergreen Middle School

Justin Kan attended Evergreen Middle School in Spokane Valley, Washington.

University Prep

Justin Kan attended University Prep in Seattle, Washington.

Yale University

Justin Kan attended Yale University from 2001 to 2005. He graduated with a bachelor of arts double major in physics and philosophy.

Entrepreneurship
Kiko

In 2003, Justin Kan and Emmet Shear founded an online calendar web application called Kiko. Kiko was headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company received $70,000 in funding from investors after its founding, and in 2006, Justin Kan decided to sell the company on eBay for a final selling price of $258,000. The company shut down operations in May 2008

Justin.tv

On October 1, 2006, Justin.tv was founded in San Francisco, California by Justin Kan and Kyle Vogt. Justin.tv was an online community for broadcasting its users' livestreams. The platform originally had only one livestreaming channel for several months—a 24/7 "lifecast" of Justin Kan documenting his life. Justin.tv is responsible for popularizing the term "lifecasting." Justin.tv's second livestream channel, iJustine, launched on April 18, 2007, and followed a popular video blogger named Justine Ezarik. The company shut down on August 5, 2013, for the founders to focus on pivoting the company's focus toward growing Justin.tv's parent company, Twitch—a social livestreaming service dedicated to gaming.

Twitch

Justin Kan, Emmet Shear, Kyle Vogt, and Omar Javed founded Twitch in 2007. It is a San Francisco-headquartered social livestreaming platform for gamers. The company was purchased by Amazon on August 25, 2014, for $970 million in cash.

Socialcam

In 2011, Justin Kan, Kyle Vogt, and Guillaume Luccisano cofounded a social video recording, editing, and sharing mobile application called Socialcam. It was purchased by Autodesk on December 4, 2018 for $60 million.

Exec

In 2012, Kan founded Exec, an on-demand service for the completion of simple tasks for a $25/hr flat fee. The company reportedly dropped the price of home cleaning services in each of the nine markets it was available in. Handy, a competitor of Exec, noticed the success Exec was having and purchased the company on January 14, 2014, in an equity deal worth less than $10 million.

Whale

In July 2016 Justin Kan, James Zhang, Ranidu Lankage, and Vicc Alexander founded Whale, an online question and answer (Q&A) community in which users can engage with influencers, experts, and celebrities.

The Drop

In 2015, Kan founded The Drop, an online community forum for helping people discover electronic dance music. Kan founded The Drop with the goal "to create a constant stream of new electronic music tracks every day." He built the music streaming service using the SoundCloud API and an open-source curation interface known as Telescope. Justin Kan told reporters he made the company for fun and admitted:

I don't think it's ever really going to make money. It's not a business, it's just a site. I don't think the music business is a very good business to be in. I'll be happy if it just sources me good music for a long time.
Zero-F

In 2017, Justin Kan left Y Combinator as a partner to start his own start-up incubator celled Zero-F. He said the idea behind the name is to take a company from "zero to funding." The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and plans to incubate three new businesses per year.

Atrium

Atrium is a San Francisco-based company focusing on automating legal workflows. It was founded by Justin Kan, Augie Rakow, Bebe Chueh, and Chris Smoak in April 2017. Kan has been the CEO of Atrium since April 2017 and founded the company to solve many problems he faced as the founder of several technology companies. Kan told reporters:

Over the years, I have been an involuntary power user of the legal industry. While I valued the counsel of my attorney, I was frustrated by the delivery of service, and there were many things I wanted to see done differently. The biggest headache for me was that no one could tell me when to use legal service [or] how much to use.

According to the company's website, Kan founded Atrium with the goal of "making legal faster and more transparent with upfront pricing." Kan's influence had the company use alternative pricing strategies to ease the concerns of its customers searching for legal guidance. The company does not charge hourly rates; instead, it uses a monthly subscription for its Atrium Counsel service, a service that takes care of day-to day-legal needs, using a dedicated attorney and paralegal team). Atrium also features a flat fee for its Atrium Financing service, which takes care of legal advisory for start-ups during their venture capital fundraising.

Jobs
Russel Investment Group

From May 2005 to August 2006 (1 year and 4 months), Justin Khan was an intern at Russel Investment Group.

Y Combinator

From March 2014 to March 2017 (3 years and 1 month), Justin Kan was a Y Combinator partner.

Investing

According to AngelList, Justin Kan has made sixty-three personal investments and nine exits (Parse, Tilt, Cruise, Freshplum, Interviewed, Kimono Labs, Listrunner, MessageMe, and Say Media).

Board memberships and advisory roles

Justin Kan has served, or is currently serving, on the board or as an adviser for the following companies: AirHelp, Kickback, Bitaccess, Screenleap, Cleanly, Founders Den, FightCamp, ResumeGem, Submittable, Monogram, Phenomenon Ventures, DoseDr, Atrium, Twitch, Seekmi, ZeroCater, and Trip Alder.

Family

Justin Kan is married to Christine Oh.

Timeline

December 2021
Kan debuts Fractal, a Solana-based marketplace for gaming NFTs.
February 2021
Kan's YouTube videos are available to be minted as NFTs.
January 2021
Kan begins a YouTube channel.
September 2020
Kan and Robin Chan found a new hybrid incubator called Goat Capital.
March 2020
Kan shuts down Atrium, laying off over 100 employees and returning some of its funding to investors.
March 2019
Kan becomes advisor to Theta, a blockchain-based, peer to peer video streaming platform.
April 2017
Kan cofounds Atrium.
March 2017
After leaving Y Combinator, Kan founds his own start-up incubator, Zero-F.
2016
Kan cofounds Whale, an online Q&A community, with James Zhang, Ranidu Lankage, and Vicc Alexander.
January 2015
Kan founds The Drop, an online community forum website for electronic dance music discovery.

Invested in

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

10+1 Lessons from Serial Entrepreneur Justin Kan

May 17, 2019

24/7 World of Justin.tv

May 10, 2007

Founder Interviews: Justin Kan of Atrium - By

Hackernoon - Davis

Web

November 8, 2018

How to Build a Team, Raise Capital, and Make an Impact | Startup Q&A with Justin Kan (Twitch, YC)

April 4, 2017

Justin.tv's Justin Kan: The story of a serial entrepreneur | Wizard

October 31, 2012

News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Cecilia D'Anastasio
June 6, 2021
Wired
The livestreaming platform for gamers helped pioneer the patronage systems that prop up so much of the internet today.
Sam Dean
February 25, 2021
Los Angeles Times
Influencers of all stripes are racing to build up their followings on Clubhouse, spending hours a day on the audio app. Why are people doing this?
Justin Kan
January 8, 2021
Business Insider
Seibel, a first investor in hundreds of startups and a board member of Reddit and Dropbox, has known Kan since their Yale days.
Max Jungreis
December 30, 2020
Business Insider
Twitch cofounder Justin Kan reveals how a ruthless focus on the customer experience eventually led to a 2014 Amazon acquisition for $970 million.
Walter Thompson
February 1, 2020
TechCrunch
In a free-wheeling interview, the serial entrepreneur covers a number of topics, including spirituality, stress and therapy.
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References

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