Live Matrix Acquired by OVGuide

I’m really pleased to announce that a startup I helped co-found, Live Matrix, has been acquired by OVGuide, a leading video portal.

TechCrunch covered the deal here.

The new combined company is a unique powerhouse in the online video space – covering the entire life cycle of online videos from when they are upcoming, to when they go live, to when they are on-demand.

Sanjay Reddy, my co-founder, and friend, has done an amazing job bringing our vision to life. The deal with OVGuide is a big step forward in the evolution of this project. I look forward to great things from the combined company. Congratulations to the team, and my thanks to our loyal and helpful angel investors. It’s been a very interesting project to be a part of.

The Daily Dot – Our Newest Venture Production – Launches Today!

Today I’m pleased to announce that, The Daily Dot, our newest “venture production,” has launched into public beta.

The Daily Dot is the first of its kind – it’s the Web’s newspaper — the first community newspaper about the Web. We cover the Web like a town paper covers its community. Here’s a video overview of the site.

This venture began with the insight that each of us is spending an increasing amount of our lives online, in various online communities, yet we have very little insight into what’s going in this new landscape. These communities are literally places, and some of them are quite large. This is beautifully illustrated in this “map” of the Web as a geography.

I believe that it’s time for the Web community to have it’s own newspaper. The launch of the Daily Dot — the web community’s first actual newspaper of record — is a turning point, a coming-of-age, for the Web as a medium, as a place, and as a community.

Our editorial focus is different than other publications that cover the Web. Instead of covering the Web as an industry, a technology or a phenomenon, we cover it as a community. We tell the stories of the people, culture, content, events and issues that are making waves in communities around the Web. And to find and report on these stories, we have embedded reporters in those communities: Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, with more communities coming soon.

Just like our physical cities and towns, our online communities are constantly moving and developing, and they are full of interesting people doing newsworthy and important things. The Daily Dot’s mission is to cover these communities just like physical community newspapers cover cities and towns.

Where a town newspaper covers the latest high school sports game, the town meeting, the local crime report, we cover the story behind the hottest viral video sweeping the planet, the latest social movement in Facebook, and important issues (like cybercrime or online bullying) that are happening in our online neighborhoods.

When a major event happens in the physical world – like the revolutions in Arab world, for example — we don’t cover the events themselves, we cover their online footprint — what’s happening online that relates to the story.

The Daily Dot will also cover what’s happening around the Web in time: just like physical community newspapers have calendar sections – The Daily Dot has an online events section, provided in partnership with Live Matrix, one of our other venture productions, that aggregates the schedule of the Web. These two companies are highly synergistic and form the beginnings of our online media network.

While those of us in the Web industry have our fingers slightly more on the pulse of the Web, the vast majority of people who use the Web do not read industry blogs and have little or no visibility into what’s going on in the online world or where it’s headed. Other than a few articles a week published by mainstream media, they are not being informed.

It’s time for that to change. The Daily Dot will be publishing dozens of articles each day about what’s happening online. We’re writing for the mainstream, not for elites or geeks. The Daily Dot is for the people who use the Web — who live in it — not just the people who are building it.

Our content is designed to be entertaining, interesting, informative — and sometimes edgy and controversial – kind of like People Magazine meets USA Today, with a little bit of TMZ thrown in.

If you want to know what’s happening online, or you’re looking to find the hottest emerging entertainment, personalities, viral videos, issues, etc — and the stories behind them — The Daily Dot is your newspaper.

But The Daily Dot is not just a newspaper, it’s also a very interesting business venture. It’s a chance to build what could become one of the largest circulation newspapers in the world someday – a global newspaper about the one community that we all share in common, no matter where we actually live.

I also want to congratulate and thank the amazing editorial and development team at the Daily Dot, who made this possible. And most importantly, I want to acknowledge Nicholas White (Daily Dot CEO), Owen Thomas (Daily Dot founding editor), and Josh Jones-Dilworth (marketing guru), my co-founders in this venture.

Nick and Owen are leading business and editorial, and running the operations, and Josh and myself are on the board, advising to help in our respective areas of expertise. Nick and Owen deserve all the credit here — they have done the heavy lifting to bring this vision to market, and I’m very proud to be working with them.

Please join me us helping to spread the word about The Daily Dot — it’s your newspaper — and we need your help to make it great (and we look forward to your feedback and participation in the comments).

This is going to be a fun ride and I can’t wait to see how it evolves.

Goodbye San Francisco, Hello Los Angeles!

As of this week I am officially based in Los Angeles and I’m already loving it here.

I made the decision for many reasons. First of all my wife wanted to move back here – she lived here for 16 years (during which time she produced 11 TV movies), and she has a huge community of friends here. In addition, many of my closest friends live in LA as well. Secondly, Live Matrix, a venture I co-founded with Sanjay Reddy, is based here, and I wanted to be closer to HQ. But beyond these reasons, I think LA is on the cusp of becoming the center for Web media, and it’s a good time to move here.

After nearly 6 years in SF, it’s exciting to be in a new and larger environment. LA is a big city, like New York City, where I previously lived for 11 years. The tremendous range of businesses in LA, the cultural diversity, and the amazing talent here, are really exciting. I tend to thrive in big cities, and although San Francisco had a lot of charm, I missed the pulse of New York. LA seems to be a happy medium, with much better weather.

As an Internet entrepreneur and angel investor, moving to LA also offers a ripe new frontier. While Silicon Valley is  the center of Web technology, I believe the LA region, with Hollywood, Studio City, Santa Monica, Pasadena and Caltech within easy reach, is going to become the center for Web Media — for example online entertainment, gaming, online video, live streaming, and social media. Already there is a strong and growing community of startups in or near LA. In fact, CrunchBase lists more than 500 of them within 30 miles of LA.

There is also a growing early-stage investment community in and around LA — “the City of Angels” is becoming “The city of angel investors.” There is a long-standing culture of investing in films here, and this culture is a natural fit for investing in Web startups. In addition, there is a huge pool of talented Web savvy developers and business people here, and the costs for hiring, renting space, and building startups are significantly lower than SF or Palo Alto. In short, I think LA is prime territory for building Web ventures. And it’s close enough to get to Silicon Valley and back in a day for meetings when necessary.

As for my many friends and colleagues in San Francisco, well I’ll be back a lot, so it’s not really goodbye. I’ll probably in SF or Silicon Valley at least every month. Ironically, we’ll see each other more, now that we have to actually plan getting together.

It’s only been a few days here in LA, but I’m really looking forward to exploring my new home (there is a lot to learn) and connecting with the many interesting startups, investors and thinkers here in LA Web community.

The Schedule of the Web: Live Matrix – Launched Tonight

Tonight I am pleased to announce that my next Big Idea has launched. It’s called Live Matrix and I invite you to come check it out.

Live Matrix is the schedule of the Web — We help you to find out “What’s When on the Web” — the hottest live online events happening on the Web: concerts, interviews, live chat sessions, game tournaments, sales, popular Webshows, tech conferences, live streaming sports coverage, and much more.

It’s like TV Guide was for TV, but it’s not for TV, it’s for the Web. There are all kinds of things happening online — and while Live Matrix includes a lot of live streaming video events, there is much more than just video in our guide. Live Matrix includes any types of scheduled online events — but we don’t include offline events — to be in Live Matrix an event must enable people to participate online.

The site combines elements of a guide, a search engine, and a DVR, to help you discover events and then get reminded to attend them, or catch them later if you missed them.

The insight that led to Live Matrix was that the time-dimension of the Web is perhaps the last big greenfield opportunity on the Web. It’s an entire dimension of the Web that nobody has made a search engine for, and nobody is providing any guidance for. Nobody owns it yet — it’s a whole new frontier of the Web.

There are millions of scheduled events taking place online every day. Some of these events are very cool, some are very relevant — but there is no easy way to find out about them. To find out what’s happening when on TV for example, we have TV Guide, but there is no equivalent for finding out what’s happening when on the Web.

In my own case I kept finding out about cool online events that I would have participated in — concerts, conference streams, webinars, online debates and interviews, and sales —  if only I had known they were happening. I think many Internet users have experienced this.

Google, Yahoo and Bing all focus on what I call the “space dimension” of the Web — they help you find what’s where — where is the best page about topic x? — But they don’t help you find out what’s when — what’s happening now, what’s coming next. They only help you find out what’s already finished and done with. How do you find out what’s happening now? How do you know what’s upcoming?

It was an “aha moment” when this all became clear — there is a new opportunity to be the Google or Yahoo for the time dimension of the Web. Or at least to be the equivalent of a TV Guide for the Web.

Furthermore, All trends point to this being a big opportunity. The continued growth of the realtime Web (Twitter, etc.) and the emerging Live Web (video and audio streaming) has been discussed extensively in the media; most recently comScore reported nearly a 650% increase in time spent viewing live video online.

So with this opportunity clearly in mind I set about looking for a co-founder who would be the right person to team up with, someone who would be the CEO.

That person was Sanjay Reddy. Soon after I met Sanjay it was clear to me that he was the exact right guy to partner with: his background in media and technology were what impressed me (for example, he was head of corp dev, strategy and M&A at Gemstar-TV Guide, where he led the $2.3 billion dollar sale of the company to Macrovision, and he had also worked at other Silicon Valley startups and investment banks as well).

Sanjay and I spent quite a bit of time just talking about ideas and eventually decided to join forces. My Lucid Ventures incubator, along with Sanjay, seed-funded the new venture and named it Live Matrix, to go after our mutual vision.

Soon after Sanjay joined we were fortunate to be joined by our two highly experienced colleagues, Edgar Fereira (formerly VP of data for TV Guide Data and TV Guide Online) and Tobias Batton (serial entrepreneur, product manager, game designer). Then others joined around us.

Eventually we formed a small (but awesome) startup team and began working on a prototype and eventually an alpha. We debuted a closed beta preview at TechCrunch Disrupt last spring and received enthusiastic reviews. Now, today, we are releasing our public beta.

Read the full press release here.

I hope you like what we’ve created so far. But please note it is still a BETA. We are interested in your feedback and we already have a lot of feedback from our private beta. Here are some of the ideas we are working on for our next few releases:

  • The Number One request we have received so far is to make it easier and faster for people to find events that would interest them. So for the remainder of the year one of our big priorities will be to add in more personalization and recommendations.
  • We’re also working on new UI concepts, including some more ways to view the schedule of the Web.
  • And we’re going to make it easier and faster for you to add events to Live Matrix — we’ll be launching improvements to our publisher tools section, as well more ways for people to suggest events for us to list.
  • And we also plan to add new categories of events — for examples, Business, Technology, Games, and more.

So stay tuned! Live Matrix is just getting started. But this could be the start of something big.

ps. Here’s a screencast with a quick tour of Live Matrix

Live Matrix Demo from Doug Freeman on Vimeo.