Justin Kan

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Justin Kan
Born (1983-07-16) July 16, 1983 (age 39)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Alma materYale University
Known forCo-founding Twitch
YouTube information
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg100,000 subscribers2021
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Last updated: June 18, 2021

Justin Kan (born July 16, 1983) is an American internet entrepreneur and investor. He is the co-founder of live video platforms Justin.tv and Twitch, as well as the mobile social video application Socialcam.[2] He is also the cofounder and former CEO of law-tech company Atrium.[3][4]

He was formerly a partner at Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator.[5] His attempt to broadcast his entire life at Justin.tv, which he named after himself, popularized the term "lifecasting". Kan also started a Reddit-style electronic music discovery platform, The Drop.[citation needed]

In March 2019, along with YouTube co-founder Steve Chen he became advisor to Theta, a peer-to-peer video streaming platform that uses blockchain technology.[6]



In 2007, Justin Kan and partners Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel and Kyle Vogt started Justin.tv, a 24–7 live video feed of Kan's life, broadcast via a webcam attached to his head.[7] Kan was 23 years old at the time.

Kan's "lifecasting" lasted about eight months. Kan's concept attracted media attention, and resulting interviews with him included one by Ann Curry on the Today Show. Viewers accompanied Kan as he walked the streets of San Francisco, sometimes involved in both pre-planned events (trapeze lesson, dance lesson) and spontaneous situations (being invited into the local Scientology center by a sidewalk recruiter).

Afterward, the company transitioned to providing a live video platform so anyone could publish a live video stream. Justin.tv, the platform, launched in 2007[8][9] and was one of the largest live video platforms in the world with more than 30 million unique users every month.

Justin.tv was closed on August 5, 2014, in an effort to focus further on Justin.tv's parent company, Twitch.[10][11][12]


After Justin.tv launched in 2007, the site quickly began building subject-specific content categories like Social, Tech, Sports, Entertainment, News & Events, Gaming and others. Gaming, in particular, grew very fast and became the most popular content on the site.[13]

The company then decided to spin off the gaming content under a separate brand at a separate site. They named it TwitchTV, inspired by the term twitch gameplay. It launched officially in public beta on June 6, 2011.

Twitch was acquired by Amazon.com in August 2014 for $970 million.[14][15]


Socialcam launched March 7, 2011, was bought by Autodesk July 17, 2012 for $60 million and was ended by Autodesk October 28, 2015.[16][17][18] Socialcam was a mobile social video application for iPhone and Android that allowed users to capture and share video online and on mobile, as well as via Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

At one point, the application eclipsed 2 million downloads and continued to add to its features list, most notably with the addition of video filters.[19]


Justin Kan launched Exec on February 29, 2012, a new service to allow anyone to outsource anything you want for $25/hour. Exec was co-founded with his brother Daniel Kan, former head of UserVoice business development, and Stanford graduate Amir Ghazvinian.[20]

Exec was purchased by Handybook, a company founded by Oisin Hanrahan, Umang Dua, Ignacio Leonhardt, and Weina Scott, in an all-stock transaction in January 2014.[21]

Y Combinator[edit]

Kan was a member of the first batch of YC-funded startups in 2005 for Kiko Calendar, and was funded by YC again for Justin.tv[5] and Exec.[22] Kan became a partner at Y Combinator in March 2014, where he offered advice to the new startups in each batch.[23] In March 2017, Kan left Y Combinator to start his own incubator, Zero-F.[24]

The Drop[edit]

The Drop is a Reddit-style electronic music discovery platform that launched early 2015. Users can post and up-vote community curated and sourced tracks. It was founded by Kan and his college friend Ranidu Lankage.[25]


Kan publicly launched Atrium in 2017.[26] Kan raised $10.5 million in an initial "party" round of investment led by General Catalyst[27] In September 2018, Kan raised a $65 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. At that time, Andrew Chen, Marc Andreessen and Michael Seibel joined the Atrium board of directors.[28] Atrium closed operations in March 2020.[29]


Justin Kan started a YouTube channel in 2021.[30] In February 2021 he announced that one can collect his YouTube videos as non-fungible tokens on OpenSea.[31][32]


Justin Kan started Fractal.is in December 2021 as a marketplace for players to buy Solana-based NFTs directly from game companies as well as a secondary marketplace for peer-to-peer trading. In April 2022 Fractal has raised $35 million in a seed round led by Paradigm and Multicoin Capital. Other investors include Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Solana Labs, Animoca Brands, Coinbase Ventures and Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon, among others.

Kan speaking at a Solana event in Los Angeles in February 2022


  1. ^ "About Justin Kan". YouTube.
  2. ^ "Socialcam: A Look At Justin.tv's Upcoming 'Instagram for Video'". TechCrunch. February 18, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  3. ^ Atrium
  4. ^ Hutcheon, Stephen (June 15, 2009). "One man and a cam – web – Technology". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Y Combinator's latest partners are also alums". VentureBeat. June 13, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  6. ^ Young, Joseph (February 16, 2018). "What is Theta Token? And Why is Sony Behind It?". Live Coin Watch. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  7. ^ Guynn, Jessica (March 30, 2007). "IT'S JUSTIN, LIVE! ALL DAY, ALL NIGHT! / S.F. startup puts camera on founder's head for real-time feed, and a star is born". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  8. ^ RSS Feed for Liz Gannes Email Liz Gannes Liz Gannes (October 2, 2007). "Justin.tv Wins Funding, Opens Platform – Online Video News". Gigaom.com. Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  9. ^ Chris Pirillo (April 30, 2009). "Grab a webcam and give lifecasting a try". CNN. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  10. ^ "Goodbye from Justin.tv". Justin.TV. August 5, 2014. Archived from the original on October 22, 2008. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  11. ^ Machovech, Sam (August 5, 2014). "Streaming video site Justin.tv announces closure effective immediately". Arstechnica.
  12. ^ Popper, Ben (August 5, 2014). "Justin.tv, the live video pioneer that birthed Twitch, officially shuts down". The Verge.
  13. ^ "Live-streaming site Justin.tv buffing up for e-sports channels". VentureBeat. March 10, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  14. ^ "Letter from the CEO". Twitch. August 25, 2014. Archived from the original on August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  15. ^ Lanxon, Nate (August 25, 2014). "Amazon buys Twitch streaming service". Wired.
  16. ^ "TwitchTV: Justin.tv's killer new esports project". The Next Web. June 6, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  17. ^ Tam, Donna (July 17, 2012). "Autodesk to buy Facebook favorite Socialcam for $60M". CNET. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  18. ^ "Autodesk Signs Agreement to Acquire Socialcam". BusinessWire. July 17, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  19. ^ "Socialcam Crosses 2M Downloads, Adds (Wait For It…) Video Filters!". TechCrunch. October 5, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  20. ^ "Justin Kan Launches Exec For Real-Time Mobile Jobs". Forbes. February 29, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  21. ^ "Handybook Buys Exec in a Deal for the On-Demand World". The New York Times. January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  22. ^ "Justin Kan Launches Exec For Real-Time Mobile Jobs". Forbes. February 29, 2012.
  23. ^ Graham, Paul (June 13, 2011). "Welcome Sam, Garry, Emmett, and Justin". Y Combinator Posterous. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  24. ^ Stangel, Luke (March 7, 2017). "Twitch founder Justin Kan quits Y Combinator to start his own incubator". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  25. ^ Lankage, Ranidu (June 20, 2018). "Why My Acqui-hire Failed (And What You Can Learn)". atrium.co. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  26. ^ Tashea, Jason (September 14, 2017). "Venture-backed, technology-focused law firm launches". abajournal.com. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  27. ^ Tashea, Jason (June 15, 2017). "Venture-backed, technology-focused law firm launches". abajournal.com. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  28. ^ Constine, Josh (June 15, 2017). "Atrium raises $65M from a16z to replace lawyers with machine learning". techcrunch.com. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  29. ^ "$75M legal startup Atrium shuts down, lays off 100". TechCrunch. March 3, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  30. ^ "Justin Kan - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  31. ^ You can COLLECT my YouTube videos as an NFT?!, archived from the original on December 15, 2021, retrieved August 18, 2021
  32. ^ "Startup Stories from Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch". OpenSea Blog. February 24, 2021. Retrieved August 18, 2021.

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