New entertainment tech solutions from Variety’s 10 Innovators to Watch

Julien Mitelberg, Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Fabrice Sergent, Co-Founder and Managing Partner


Bandsintown is a world hub of stay music that connects 60 million registered customers with 540,000 artists from world wide. With stay efficiency venues closing their doorways within the wake of the pandemic, Bandisintown expanded its attain of on-line live-streams to join potential concertgoers with their favourite musical acts.

The music discovery platform is intuitive and private, permitting managers, labels, businesses and artists to entry a dashboard to promote their tour dates. Art­ists also can instantly message their followers to promote an album launch or share their newest merchandise. Registered followers are ready get an all-access go to stay, unique concert events, Q&As, stay chats and artist interviews.

Last 12 months, between March 25 and Dec. 9, 62,765 livestreams by 18,930 artists have been marketed for gratis on Bandsintown to its viewers of registered followers, marking an extremely, and unexpectedly, profitable 2020. During that point, Sergent pioneered the launch of Bandsintown Plus, a first-of-its-kind subscription service that offers followers entry to dozens of stay exhibits for one low month-to-month subscription charge.

“No different service provides plug-‘n’-play solutions to followers for a single and easy subscription. Bandsintown Plus rigorously curates, produces and markets 25 unique concert events per thirty days for one $9.99 per thirty days subscription,” says Sergent. “For every live performance, a journalist totally introduces the acts and provides followers a novel skill to ask questions after the show. Bandsintown Plus makes stay music extra accessible and extra inexpensive the place artists turn into extra approachable by means of intimate experiences.”

Since Bandsintown’s January 2020 launch, the platform has secured performances from indie favorites Phoebe Bridgers, Chromeo, Flying Lotus, Big Thief, Wallows and Toro y Moi, with extra to come.

As Bandsintown continues to develop, Sergent says there shall be “extra improvements provided to our registered artists to higher promote their tour, promote digital and in-person live performance tickets, current new music and promote merch.”

— Daron James

Alex Cyrell Brad Thomas Roger Barton

Alex Cyrell, CEO and Co-Founder

Brad Thomas, Co-Founder and COO

Roger Barton, Co-Founder


Engineering Emmy winner Ever­cast has emerged because the go-to real-time collaboration resolution in Hollywood. The web-based platform combines video conferencing, HD live-streaming and full-spectrum stereo audio permitting professionals to work collectively at each stage, from pre- to post-production and past.

With simply eight workers right now final 12 months, Evercast was considered one of a number of collaboration instruments preventing for the entertainment trade area. It gained huge recognition by means of word-of-mouth from trade veterans on the lookout for the appropriate useful resource to full tasks through the pandemic.

Since, the corporate’s income has surged by 1,400% and use has jumped to 200 nationally televised packages, together with “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix, “Chernobyl” on HBO and ABC’s late evening stalwart “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The Cinema Audio Society had nominated them within the excellent product in post-production class earlier this 12 months.

“Evercast was constructed particularly for inventive collaboration,” says Cyrell. “For instance, a movie editor can work aspect by aspect with the director, or a director can stream stay from location with producers weighing in just about. With ultra-low latency, Evercast makes it really feel like they’re working collectively in the identical room.”

The platform provides all must-have instruments for collaborative workflows, together with recording and reviewing key session moments, easy-to-use on-screen drawing instruments, and the flexibility to hold monitor of modifications and suggestions with time-stamped notes. Plus, there’s 24/7 help.

Evercast is totally safe too, permitting artisans to stream stay cameras on set, or from inventive software program together with Avid, Premiere Pro or Pro Tools so groups can si­multaneously collaborate. There isn’t any want to add any media recordsdata to Evercast, since groups can merely livestream content material from a pc direct­­ly to the members within the digital room and make modifications on the fly.

Cyrell says what’s subsequent for Evercast are plans to “proceed to increase its use circumstances inside the TV and movie manufacturing as w ell as within the adjoining markets of gaming and promoting.” The firm can also be wanting to present accessibility to entry degree creatives, together with unbiased content material creators.

— Daron James

Jichul Lee

Jichul Lee, Partner and Executive Creative Director


Giantstep was established in Seoul as a conventional CG, animation and VFX studio for promoting, function movies and different inventive content material. Having opened its Los Angeles workplace 4 years in the past, the corporate is primed for an enormous splash within the U.S. market.

Through its inner analysis and improvement workforce, GX Lab, which bought off the bottom in 2016, it is growing a set of instruments for digital manufacturing, real-time rendering solutions and graphic integrations with the objective of shaping the way forward for entertainment by means of prolonged actuality (XR).

“What differentiates us from different firms on this area is how we incorporate recreation engines into our workflow to produce a brand new kind of content material that allows reasonable graphic expressions and real-time client interactions,” Lee says.

For Giantstep it is past making cool stuff, however recognizing that the know-how is an enormous think about shaping the way forward for content material. Giantstep’s XR Live Concert Technology is one such instrument, which they expedited through the shutdown to launch the world’s first ticketed digital live performance expertise for SM Entertainment, which manages Okay-Pop artists and is likely one of the largest entertainment firms in South Korea. Giantstep developed a proprietary XR resolution whereby the artists might carry out “stay” on a digital stage with animated background components and the flexibility to shoot with a multi-camera setup.

From a income standpoint, SM Entertainment has earned $20 million-plus from international on-line ticket gross sales through the pandemic, with out the overhead of conventional stay exhibits. XR Live Concert Technology is not restricted to concert events. Producers of Broadway, gaming and TV occasions all have a possibility to leverage it. Even Naver (the Korean equal of Google) has invested in Giantstep’s XR Live Concert Technology.

“We need to be a content material chief of the long run, so we’re doing numerous experimentation with digital people, digital celebrities and digital influencers —all created with real-time engines. Clients will want content material for each the ‘actual world’ and the digital expertise, so with the long run in thoughts, we’re very a lot within the Metaverse. In the only phrases, meaning reworking actuality into the digital world. It presents an excessive amount of potential so far as fan and client experiences go. It’s thrilling,” Lee says.

— Daron James

Kirin Sinha

Kirin Sinha, CEO


When Illumix launched its first cellular AR recreation, “Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery,” in August 2019, it generated over 6 million downloads and earned glowing critiques from critics and customers alike. It was an enormous rating for the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup and an excellent greater validation for its younger CEO Sinha, one of many solely minority feminine tech firm founders within the Silicon Valley.

The recreation is the mixed product of Sinha’s childhood love of fantasy books (“Harry Potter,” “The Lord of the Rings”), films (“Star Wars”) and video video games (“Zelda,” “Mario Bros.”) and a ardour for machine studying she developed as an undergrad at MIT within the early 2010s. Sinha launched Illumix in 2017 whereas finishing her MBA at Stanford, the place she was president of the Entrepreneurial Club, and a 12 months later it made headlines when it secured an $8.6 million seed funding spherical led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Maveron with participation from director Michael Bay’s 451 Media.

Illumix went on to increase a complete of $13 million in enterprise capital funding, whereas attracting the curiosity of Hollywood studios, stay occasion firms and different entertainment entities, which have commissioned it to create AR experiences for theme parks and sports activities and music venues.

With AR experiences, “you may have ghosts strolling by means of the partitions and speaking to folks or decide up your cellphone to take a selfie, and rapidly golden snitch­­es are flying round your head,” says Sinha.

Illumix has additionally entered the e-commerce area with a web-based software that allows customers to maintain their arms in entrance of their webcam and just about strive on rings.

“There are very massive markets which might be opening up and rising proper now for augmented actuality at present, and that is the place I believe Illumix matches,” says Sinha. “It’s an enormous means for manufacturers and IP to attain that viewers.”

—Todd Longwell


Asad J. Malik, Founder


Malik is engaged on the bleeding fringe of entertainment tech with Jadu, which makes use of volumetric seize to create mobile-based immersive experiences that allow followers to work together with holograms of artists equivalent to Lil Nas X, Poppy, Okay Camp and Dor-ian Electra in shareable movies.

The son of an English-teacher father, Malik grew up in a small city in Pakistan, the place he started designing web sites when he was simply 11 years old. At 16, his life took a dramatic flip when he obtained a scholarship to a global highschool within the Netherlands.

“It was fairly a tradition shock,” observes Malik. “During that point,I began diving deeper into know-how, entrepreneurship and the concept of constructing an organization.”

Malik got here to the U.S. to examine at Bennington College in Vermont, the place he started engaged on AR tasks. His first main effort, “Terminal 3,” by which the viewer takes on the function of an airport se­­curity officer interrogating a passenger, was an official choice on the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, the place it was dubbed “essentially the most intense AR expertise” by Fast Co. He adopted up with “A Jester’s Tale,” which the Verge named the very best augmented actuality on the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Malik launched Jadu in March 2020, simply because the pandemic was shutting down stay performances, giving artists an alternate means to join with followers and monetize their work. Its most up-to-date launch is “Curse of Calypso,” a darkish and creepy interactive expertise from the Canadian-American band PalayeRoyale, and extra shall be coming quickly.

“By this summer time, we might havemuchbigger artists performing longer type experiences in your room and speaking to you and interesting along with your environment inmore advanced methods,” he says.

— Todd Longwell

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson, VP, Product and Studio Design


Johnson leads the workforce at Netflix that designs all the pieces subscribers see, really feel and skim on its consumer interface (UI), from the colours and the shapes to how a lot latency there may be when one thing is clicked on. These delicate selections could seem inconsequential, however, in accordance to Johnson, they’ve a serious affect on how the service’s 200 million-plus members across the globe entry and luxuriate in content material.

“The greatest push that we’re proper now could be how we are able to guarantee that we are able to personalize the UI so irrespective of the place you might be on the planet, it is going to be the appropriate UI for you,” says Johnson. “How does[it] current to the member in order that once they’re utilizing the product, they do not really feel like they’re being spoken at, they really feel like they’re a part of the dialog and so they’re being spoken with?”

Recent improvements from John­­son and his workforce embody the “Fast Laughs” clips feed for cellular units and the “Play Something” shuffle play button, in addition to interactive storytelling experiences equivalent to “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.” They’re additionally engaged on increasing individualized member experiences by way of such options as screensavers that provide curated recommendations.

Johnson spent a lot of his youth shifting throughout the nation along with his mom, making an attempt to keep two steps forward of his abusive father, often winding up as the one Black child at school. Shows together with “Star Trek,” which featured a multi-racial cast, have been inspirational touchstones for him then, and so they inform his mission to deliver various content material to the lots by way of Netflix at present.

“Growing up as a younger Black child within the ’70s, it was the TV set that confirmed me I could possibly be extra than simply what the world anticipated me to be and greater than what the folks exterior stored on making an attempt to flip me into,” says Johnson.

— Todd Longwell

Vidya Narayanan

Vidya Narayanan, CEO and Co-founder


When it comes to social media, Rizzle, a short-video platform with episodic content material, is the brand new hotness, particularly in India the place TikTok was banned.

With greater than 20 million customers globally, 5 million of whom are within the U.S., the app is altering the sport by eliminating trolls from the feedback part and amplifying various, up-and-coming voices Hollywood has but to uncover.

The 60-second video platform permits anybody to pitch a short-form sequence to its manufacturing arm, Rizzle Studios, which greenlights productions, paying creators for the content material. Selected pitches could also be eligible for funding to help with manufacturing prices, too. The main varieties of content material viewable on the budding slate of unique RizzleSeries embody vlogs, comedy exhibits, discuss exhibits, opinions, discussions and scripted brief sequence.

Narayanan says what separates Rizzle from TikTok is that it permits “creators to host a number of channels every, the place creators host 4 channels on common, creating several types of content material in several channels. Channels allow creating related tales and Rizzle’s binge-mode feed permits watching episodes in sequence with out leaving the feed.”

Rizzle additionally has its 3Min Series, by which creators can produce a three-minute sequence utilizing the hashtag #3MinSeries and be eligible to obtain a bonus fee. These sequence are mini-stories that will have a starting, center and finish informed in three episodes. All the 3Min Series are reviewed month-to-month for any applicable bonus distribution.

The true standout function of Rizzle, although, is the elimination of written feedback inside the app, and the one means customers are ready to reply is by recording a video of themselves, making a optimistic atmosphere with significant exchanges and insightful dialog between customers.

Rizzle releases updates each week and is continually evolving options based mostly on consumer suggestions. Rimix is its newest, a patent-pending function that allows customers to create numerous mixes of their favourite movies on Rizzle with a single contact. Creators can combine between two to 5 Rizzle movies of their selection on a specific monitor, and so they even have a selection to add to the Rimix by recording their very own half.

— Daron James

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Chuck Parker, CEO
Courtesy of Andrei Luca


With the pandemic altering the best way we work, distant collaboration has by no means been extra vital. By combining modern applied sciences with world-class providers, Sohonet helps professionals working throughout movie, TV and promoting to collaborate with groups and ship content material with solutions constructed for the media group.

Since the start of the shutdown, Sohonet has tailor-made solutions to work even tougher for customers collaborating remotely. The sole goal of their workforce of technical specialists is to take away the obstacles that get in the best way of your inventive course of, by enabling customers to transfer, handle and retailer content material securely and simply all through the manufacturing workflow.

“Keeping all events aligned on inventive imaginative and prescient is paramount to the success of your venture and having the appropriate instruments to execute that shared imaginative and prescient, no matter location, is vital,” says Parker.

Sohonet’s real-time ClearView collaborative instruments have been constructed to deliver distant groups collectively by means of a safe ecosystem, providing workflow collabs throughout manufacturing and submit from editorial, sound mixing, coloration grading and visible results critiques.

With ClearView Flex, groups have instruments to stream stay encrypted content material in real-time from any supply to collaborators that is viewable on any pill, cellphone, pc or Apple TV. It’s de­signed to make “over the shoulder” viewing, dialogue and approval between creatives and shoppers simple. The low-latency streaming service does not even require content material to be uploaded earlier than sharing both.

As extra creatives began working from residence, Parker spearheaded a transfer to help ClearView Flex streaming choices to match slower client web connections. “We instantly deployed ‘tremendous low’ bit charges for these in extraordinarily challenged environments. We additionally scaled out the infrastructure to help 15 viewers because the norm and permit up to 30 viewers in a multi-hour session to meet the altering work habits of crea-tives working from residence through the lockdown.”

ClearView Flex has already been acknowledged with an Emmy Engineering Award and is utilized by each main distributor, together with Netflix, HBO, Disney, NBC Universal, Amazon Studios, Warner Bros. and Sony.

— Daron James

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Sam Lucas, Paul Burton, Co-founders
Courtesy of Special.TV


The state of Montana is mostly not thought-about a hotbed for tech or entertainment, however Lucas and Burton might assist change that notion with their Boze-man-based startup Special.television, which gives a platform for creators to launch their very own subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) channels with no charges apart from a 10% reduce of their subscription income.

“There’s no exclusivity contracts or licensing settlement,” Lucas says. “Creators personal and management 100% of their content material, so that you’re free to premiere a movie in your channel and hold it there perpetually as you develop your catalog, transfer it to one other platform or hold it on each.”

Burton and Lucas, each of their mid-20s, met by means of Launch-Pad, an entrepreneurial accelerator for college kids and alumni at Montana State University in Bozeman, the place they have been finding out software program engineering and advertising, respectively.

“We acknowledged that everybody wished to construct a cellular app and nobody knew how to, and I knew all of the individuals who wished to construct software program and he knew how to construct it, so we linked up,” Lucas says.

While nonetheless college students, they launched Triple Tree Software, an organization that designed cellular and internet apps, and backend APIs for startups. After two shoppers paid them to develop customized VOD platforms, and extra adopted asking them to do the very same factor, they determined they’d be higher off launching their very own service.

The thought was successful with buyers, attracting $2.26 million in funding from Bozeman-based New Frontier Capital, 30 West in Los Angeles, former NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke and movie producer and enterprise capitalist Da­­vid Fialkow of General Catalyst, amongst others.

No matter what occurs going ahead, Lucas and Burton haven’t any plans of shifting their headquarters to Hollywood or Silicon Valley.

“We’re happy with not being bred from the standard media area,” says Lucas. “It permits us to strategy new issues with new pondering and new solutions.”

—Todd Longwell

Teresa Phillips

Teresa Phillips, CEO and co-founder


Phillips provides a cutting-edge resolution for an more and more international entertainment biz, hyper-conscious about offending viewers’ cultural sensibilities. Using a mixture of AI, machine studying and old style human curation, her firm analyzes films and TV sequence to guarantee they’re related and applicable for 240 completely different territories across the globe, assessing all the pieces from authorized compliance and applicable viewers vary to non secular references and cultural taboos.

“We’ve actually created a cultur­­al playbook for a way content material suppliers and platforms ought to function in a regulated worldwide atmosphere, and that has by no means existed earlier than,” says Phillips, who launched Spherex three years in the past.

Phillips took a circuitous route to Silicon Valley moguldom. She grew up on a farm in Kansas, then did a seven-year hitch within the military, serving as an government assistant to four-star generals and diplomats on the Pentagon and at NATO headquarters in Belgium. Following stints at firms together with CyberCash, Time Warner Cable and Yahoo, she made her first foray into tech entrepreneurship in 2006 with Graspr, a social community for user-generated educational movies that attracted $2.5 million in Series A funding. Unfortunate­­ly, her thunder was stolen by ano­ther video sharing startup, YouTube, which was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion in inventory the identical 12 months.

“I truly was speaking to [You­Tube] about becoming a member of them and I mentioned ‘No, I’m gonna do my very own factor,'” she says. “That’s a kind of issues the place you say, ‘What was I pondering?’ [Graspr] bought off the bottom, however I did not have the runway to scale it.”

Today, Spherex counts Google/YouTube as one its shoppers, together with Paramount, Lionsgate, Com­cast/NBCUnversal, HBO, AMC, Starz, PBS and Samsung, and the enterprise continues to develop.

“I simply bought an e mail this morning from considered one of our shoppers and so they mentioned, ‘We’ve bought 100,000 titles that want scores for these 25 markets,” she says.

—Todd Longwell



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