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The Come Up

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The Come Up

RockWater, Chris Erwin

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Interviews with entrepreneurs and executives who are shaking things up and building exciting new companies. In industries like new Hollywood, podcasting, ecommerce, and the metaverse. Entertaining you with stories you won't hear anywhere else, from the next generation of leaders that are going to change the world. Brought to you by Chris Erwin, the founder of RockWater and 15-year veteran operator, seller, and investor of media, commerce, and technology companies.
 
All Things Video is a podcast dedicated to uncovering the past and charting the future of the online video ecosystem. Listen to interviews with founders, executives, and thought leaders from the world’s leading media companies and engage in thought-provoking debates about the issues shaping the next generation of entertainment. From the short-form content revolution to the fragmentation of video viewership in an always-on world, All Things Video reveals the key trends and insights from the w ...
 
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This interview features Camila Victoriano, Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships at Sonoro. We discuss how fan fiction taught her to see nerds as heroes, being in the room when Dirty John was pitched to become a podcast, her crash course to figure out the business of podcasting, becoming a first time founder during COVID, why the Mexico audio market …
 
This interview features Mike Grisko, CFO and Co-Founder of Atmosphere. We discuss running an NCAA tourney at age 7, getting laid off during the Great Financial crisis, almost selling the Chive to Playboy, the challenge with professional politeness in UK work culture, raising $150 million in growth capital and quadrupling the team in 5 years, and wh…
 
This interview features Adam Rymer, CEO of OpTic Gaming. We discuss what he learned from running Harvard’s campus store, adapting to Napster at Universal Music, why entertainment doesn’t value innovation, being on Universal Pictures’ greenlight committee, scaling Legendary Digital and working alongside Chris Hardwick and Amy Poehler, how to create …
 
This interview features James Creech, SVP Influencer Strategy at Brandwatch and founder of Paladin. We discuss how former GE CEO Jack Welch inspired James to be a number one category leader, using his down payment on a house to start Paladin, his make or break pivot when the creator economy evolved in 2018, working till 3AM over Christmas to sell h…
 
Matt Gielen is the Co-Founder & CEO of Electric Monster, a portfolio company of digital content properties in the general entertainment and kids and family space. Matt started his career in production and audience development at Driver Digital, then served as VP of Programming & Audience Development at Frederator. In 2016, he founded Little Monster…
 
This interview features Michael Cohen, CEO at Team Whistle. We discuss being denied by a Goldman Sachs recruiter, when wearing a suit can be bad for business, being on the launch team of Whistle Sports, why the movie The Martian inspires his leadership, executing an M&A roll-up strategy and going from $0-100M in revenue, exiting to ELEVEN Group, an…
 
This interview features Brendan Gahan, Partner and Chief Social Officer at Mekanism. We discuss working with OG YouTubers like Smosh back in 2005, founding Epic Signal and selling it to his former employer, hanging out in El Salvador’s Bitcoin Beach, why it takes him 100 drafts to publish content, the future of the creator economy, and learning how…
 
This interview features Sarah Penna, Senior Manager of Creator Launch at Patreon. We discuss how a trip to India inspired her media career, being one of the youngest YouTube MCN founders, her $15 million exit to DreamWorks Animation, how she picks co-founders, marrying a YouTuber-turned Hollywood filmmaker, founding a female-forward entertainment b…
 
Austin Petersmith is the Founder & CEO of Racket, an app for creating and sharing 99-second audio clips. Austin started his career in journalism before becoming a developer evangelist for early SaaS products. In 2014, he started an email newsletter called ReadThisThing that was acquired by Inside.com, where he ultimately served as President & GM. H…
 
This interview features Dev Sethi, Head of Sports at Instagram. We discuss being separated from his twin in highschool, his side door into sports at YouTube, launching the first sports MCN at Whistle, why NIL is this century’s most important breakthrough for athletes, why he left the incredible team at Complex for Instagram, and the metaverse’s imp…
 
Adam Frank is the Founder & CEO of Wisio, a platform that enables creators to offer their followers individual guidance via personal videos. Adam served 5 years as an Intelligence Officer in the Israeli Air Force before studying computer science and business at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to Wisio, he worked at social news startup Tok…
 
This interview features Brian Volk-Weiss, CEO at The Nacelle Company. We discuss why betting big on standup specials got him Netflix's first streamer deal, how Iowa taught him about empathy in content production, bombing on stage and the genius of comedians, producing The Movies That Made Us, toy shopping as therapy, and why he'll retire when his f…
 
Doug Bernstein is the GM at Bleacher Report's House of Highlights. We discuss what he learned from launching his own fantasy sports website, predicting the future of sports fandoms, how he convinced Turner and Bleacher Report to buy House of Highlights, why he’s inspired by Faze Clan and 100 Thieves, and fulfilling his destiny as a sports media sav…
 
Teresa Phillips is the Co-Founder & CEO of Spherex, a technology company that uses machine learning to adapt entertainment content for international audiences. Teresa started her career in the U.S. Army, serving tours of duty at the Pentagon and NATO’s Allied Command Operations. She later worked as a Group VP of Business Operations at Time Warner C…
 
Alison Eakle is the EVP and Head of Creative Development at Shondaland. We discuss how imagining movie posters makes her a better creative exec, being a co-EP on Netflix’s #1 show Bridgerton, why she’s racked up so many recent promotions, and being part of new Hollywood’s most groundbreaking streamer partnerships. Subscribe to our newsletter. We ex…
 
Naomi Shah is the founder and CEO of Meet Cute. We discuss Naomi's early passion for STEM, being a Goldman Sachs equity trader, leaving VC to be a founder, why a rom-com podcast network solves a problem in the wellbeing market, raising $6M of capital during COVID, and how a non-Hollywood background makes her a better media entrepreneur. Subscribe t…
 
Larissa Rydin is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Tiltify, a fundraising platform for live streamers to raise money for charities. Larissa has spent over a decade working for non-profits, including Children’s Home Network, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Autism Speaks, and the Alzheimer’s Association. Prior to Tiltify, Larissa served a…
 
Dan Levitt is the founder and CEO of Long Haul Management. We discuss how Dan paid rent while making only $6,000 a year out of college (many side hustles), beating me in an office rap battle, Disney's big miss in digital music, executive producing one of YouTube's premium original series, and what it's like to represent some of the biggest sports a…
 
Damian Pelliccione is the co-founder and CEO of Revry. We discuss saying no to his family cheese business, being an early expert in live video for car shows, launching the 1st Queer streamer network from his living room, how a delayed mortgage and the launch of QueerX festival almost bankrupt the company, the power of grassroots marketing during SF…
 
Rex Woodbury is a Principal at Index Ventures, focusing primarily on the creator economy. Rex started his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, during which he time he also co-founded Worthy, an LGBTQ+ mentorship organization. Prior to Index, he worked in impact investing at the Rise Fund, growth investing at TPG, and growth strategy at Ai…
 
Steve Gottlieb is the Founder & CEO of Shindig, a video chat platform for large-scale online events. Prior to Shindig, Steve was the Founder & President of TVT Records, an independent record label that helped launch the careers of Nine Inch Nails, Ja Rule, Lil Jon, Pitbull, and other popular artists. Steve was also a founding member of the American…
 
Matthias Matternich is the co-founder and CEO of Art of Sport. We discuss growing up as the son of a German ambassador, starting his first company at 14, when Brexit devalued his investment capital, selling women's smimwear, pitching Kobe Bryant, his 500 mile trek in the Alps, and redefining body and skincare for athletes. Subscribe to our newslett…
 
Christopher Erwin is the Founder of RockWater Industries, a strategic growth advisory firm for next-generation consumer brands. Chris started his career in finance and M&A before going to business school and transitioning into media and entertainment. Prior to RockWater, he served as the COO of Big Frame before and after the digital talent agency’s…
 
Kevin Jones is the founder and CEO of Blue Wire. We discuss getting fired over a 49ers Tweet, when it makes sense to be a bad Facebook employee, why 500 Startups first turned him down, his groundbreaking new WynnBet partnership, and why Kevin wants to be the Ted Turner of this generation. Subscribe to our newsletter. We explore the intersection of …
 
Evan Britton is the Founder of Famous Birthdays, a website that profiles celebrities and social media stars in what Evan describes as "Wikipedia for Generation Z." Prior to Famous Birthdays, Evan founded Site Launcher to offer services to web domain registrants and later founded ResourceWebs, which operated a network of educational web properties. …
 
Chris Ovitz is the Co-Founder and President of OK Play. We discuss growing up in a Hollywood family, building technology-enabled media companies, life revelations during an Alabama roadtrip, "humble magnetism", launching a venture fund with the co-founder of Twitter, YouTube as a babysitter, and why the future of play is putting kids at the center …
 
Jim Louderback is the GM & SVP VidCon at Viacom, overseeing the world’s largest event series for online video creators, fans, and industry executives. Jim began his career in consulting and publishing, helping companies navigate the transformation to online media. In 2007, he became the CEO of Revision3, one of the first online video networks, whic…
 
Tom Pick is the Founder of Webbiquity, a B2B marketing agency and strategy consultancy. Prior to launching Webbiquity, Tom spent 25 years in PR and digital marketing at SoftBrands, John B. Collins Associates, and KC Associates. In this episode, Tom shares the secrets to successful B2B marketing. Although the fundamental goals of lead generation and…
 
Charles Gabriel is the Head of Global Advertising Sales for WildBrain Spark, a premium kids and family AVOD network. Charles started his career in finance before transitioning to media, initially at Broadband Enterprises and later at 5min Media, AOL, and Maker Studios. Prior to joining WildBrain Spark, Charles served as the President of Apester and…
 
Jason Falls is the Director of Digital and Social Strategy at Cornett, a creative agency based in Lexington, KY. He’s also an author, frequent industry speaker, and the host of both Winfluence and the Digging Deeper podcasts. Jason started his career in PR at Doe Anderson before founding Social Media Examiner, which he sold in 2012. He then led dig…
 
Aditi Dash is a Partner at CircleUp and invests in consumer brands like Beyond Meat, nutpods, and Black Medicine. We discuss emigrating from India at age 8, being told to "not sit at the table" while working at Morgan Stanley, taking the advice to "get out of the building" during a surprise FDA visit at La Colombe Coffee, and why hormone health and…
 
Shane Barker is the Co-Founder & CEO of Content Solutions, a creative agency that focuses on digital strategy and content marketing. Prior to launching Content Solutions, Shane served as the VP of Sales and Marketing at ZBodyFitness, VP of Digital Marketing at Kamere, and CMO at Modera. He also teaches personal branding at UCLA, hosts the Marketing…
 
Aaron Levant is the CEO of NTWRK. He's one of the most exciting builders at the intersection of fashion, culture, events, and media. We discuss launching a profitable car magazine at age 9, pitching Marc Ecko on ComplexCon, raising tens of millions for NTWRK from star investors like Jimmy Iovine and LeBron, being "oppositionally defiant", and how h…
 
Phil Ranta is the COO of Wormhole Labs, a technology engine that enables users to immerse themselves in live virtual experiences. Phil has spent more than a decade in the digital media industry, first as an Executive Producer for Viva! Vision and later as VP of Networks at Fullscreen. He went on to serve as COO of Studio71, Head of Creators at Mobc…
 
Chris Roebuck is the Founder & CEO of Clicktivated, an interactive video technology that connects video and commerce. Chris started his career on the agency side before launching his first startup in early 2010. After spending 4 years developing mobile applications, Chris founded Clicktivated in October 2013. In this episode, we discuss the future …
 
Kevin Gould is the founder and CEO of Kombo Ventures. Many people say they’re the bridge between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, but Kevin’s the real deal. We discuss why he outsourced his script coverage as a young talent agent, when he liquidated his IRA to start angel investing, how "sliding into DMs" helped him launch 3 beauty brands with $75 mil…
 
Bastian Manintveld is the Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of 2btube, a digital media group specializing in Spanish language content. Bastian started his career in television, working at On Demand Group in the UK and Spain before launching his first venture BeBanjo in 2008. BeBanjo was acquired by TDF Group in 2011. In this episode, Bastian and I di…
 
Lizz Warner is the Founder & CEO of Gleam, a video-based dating app making it easier to meet your matches. Prior to Gleam, Lizz spent 6 years as a producer at BuzzFeed where she created the hit travel franchise Bring Me! She also worked with Snapchat and NBC as a video producer for the 2016 and 2018 Olympics, and more recently she served as an exec…
 
Brendan Gahan is the Chief Social Officer of Mekanism, a full-service creative agency that specializes in social content. Prior to Mekanism, Brendan served as VP of Brand Strategy for Fullscreen and then founded social-first agency Epic Signal, which was acquired by Mekanism in 2015. Brendan and I pack a lot into this episode, focusing on why 2020 …
 
Gretta Cohn is the founder and CEO of Transmitter Media. Gretta's experience runs the gamut of all things audio, from public radio and ringtones, to producing chart-topping podcasts. We discuss her time touring with the band Bright Eyes, being hired as the first production executive at Midroll Media and Earwolf, and starting her own podcast company…
 
Ricky Ray Butler is the CEO of Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), a global entertainment marketing company that specializes in brand integrations across streaming, TV, film, music, and influencer programming. Prior to BEN, he founded Blue Frog Video Marketing, served as Director of Brand Integration at Familylink.com, and founded Plaid Social Lab…
 
Mike Gaston is the President of Stage TEN Studios, and a creative and social provocateur known for "programming between the lines". We discuss launching a profitable poetry press and soon after declaring personal banktuptcy, selling his first music video to MTV, founding viral digital studio Cut.com, and how he’ll shape the future of livestream med…
 
Tracy Benson is the Co-Founder & CEO of Obsesh, a sports platform and markets that connects athletes and fans. Tracy is a former professional athlete who has worked at some of the world’s biggest brands and agencies. Prior to launching Obsesh, Tracy served as CMO at Best Buy, Monster, and Seek Thermal. In this episode, Tracy shares her passion for …
 
Amir Zonozi is the Co-Founder & President of Zoomph, an audience intelligence and sponsorship measurement tool for sports teams, leagues, and agencies. Amir started his career in social media strategy and management before taking the entrepreneurial leap and launching Zoomph in 2014. In this episode, we examine how social media has fundamentally ch…
 
Patrick Reese is the General Manager of CoComelon, which creates 3D animation content for children. CoComelon is the world’s second most-viewed and third most-subscribed YouTube channel in the world and was acquired by Moonbug Entertainment earlier this year. Patrick started his career in independent film and worked as a Hollywood assistant to Lia …
 
Christian Baesler is the President of Complex Networks. Christian is a young media savant, who in his 20’s had more media experience than most executives have in a lifetime. We discuss his humble German childhood, how he launched Bauer Media's digital business at just 21 years old, being a touring DJ, and Complex's international growth plans for 20…
 
Jill Paiz-Bourque is the Founder & CEO of RushTix, an online platform for interactive comedy live streams. A long-time improvisor, stand-up comedian, and producer, Jill created the international hit improv show How We First Met and produces the annual stand-up and music show Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve. She started her career in public relations…
 
Chas Lacaillade is the founder and CEO of Bottle Rocket Management. Chas took a big bet on the digital video revolution, and now builds businesses for some of the most exciting creative talent from New Hollywood. We discuss why he left a prestigious talent agency to sell water pumps, Louisiana roadtrips, and how he converted a $5,000 bank loan into…
 
Jesse Shemen is the Co-Founder & CEO of Papercup, an AI platform that automatically translates video content using synthetic voice technology. Jesse started his career in consulting at Deloitte but quickly sought a more entrepreneurial path. He co-founded both the Deloitte Incubator and Deloitte Ventures to lead equity investments and partnerships …
 
Adam Sachs is the COO of Team Coco and a veteran podcast and digital media executive. Adam works with some of the biggest names in Hollywood like Conan O'Brien, and even Barack and Michelle Obama. We discuss his time as CEO of Midroll Media and its sale to E.W. Scripps, founding a group dating website that he sold to IAC, and the power of being foo…
 
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