Justin Kan

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Justin Kan
Justin Kan.jpg
Justin Kan speaking at Gnomedex in 2007
Born 1983 (age 32–33)
Alma mater Yale University
Known for Co-founding Twitch

Justin Kan (born 1983) is an American Internet entrepreneur and investor.[1] He is the co-founder of live video platforms Justin.tv and Twitch.tv, as well as the mobile social video application Socialcam.[2] He is a partner at venture capital firm Y Combinator.[3] His attempt to broadcast his entire life at Justin.tv popularized the term "lifecasting". Kan also started a Reddit-style electronic music discovery platform, The Drop.

He also contributes to the technology news site TechCrunch[4] and co-founded Kiko Software, the first ajax based online calendar, with Emmett Shear.[5] Kan graduated from Yale University in 2005 with degrees in physics and philosophy.


Main article: Justin.tv

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.[6]

Kan's "lifecasting" lasted about eight months. The novelty of 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 also spontaneous situations (being invited into the local Scientology center by a sidewalk recruiter).

Afterward, the company decided to transition to providing a live video platform so anyone could publish a live video stream. Justin.tv, the platform, launched in 2007[7][8] 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.[9][10][11]


Main article: Twitch (website)

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.[12]

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.TV was acquired by Amazon.com in August 2014 for $970 Million.[13][14]


Socialcam launched March 7, 2011, was bought by Autodesk July 17, 2012 for $60M and was ended by Autodesk October 28, 2015.[15][16][17] Socialcam was a mobile social video application for iPhone and Android. It allowed users to capture and share video online and on mobile, as well as via Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

The application at one point eclipsed 2 million downloads and continued to add features list, most notably with the addition of video filters.[18]


Justin Kan launched Exec (errand service) 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.[19]

Exec was purchased by Handybook, a company founded by Oisin Hanrahan, Umang Dua, Ignacio Leonhardt, and Weina Scott, in an all-stock transaction January 2014.[20]

Y Combinator[edit]

Kan became a partner at Y Combinator in March 2014, where he offers advice to the new startups in each batch.[21] He 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[3] and Exec.[22]

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 college friends Ranidu Lankage and Justin Kan.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Hutcheon, Stephen (June 15, 2009). "One man and a cam – web – Technology". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Socialcam: A Look At Justin.tv's Upcoming 'Instagram for Video'". TechCrunch. February 18, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Y Combinator's latest partners are also alums". VentureBeat. June 13, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Justin Kan Posts on TechCrunch". Crunchbase.com. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Kiko | CrunchBase Profile". Crunchbase.com. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ RSS Feed for Liz Gannes Email Liz Gannes Liz Gannes (October 2, 2007). "Justin.tv Wins Funding, Opens Platform – Online Video News". Gigaom.com. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ Chris Pirillo (April 30, 2009). "Grab a webcam and give lifecasting a try". CNN. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Goodbye from Justin.tv". Justin.TV. August 5, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  10. ^ Machovech, Sam (August 5, 2014). "Streaming video site Justin.tv announces closure effective immediately". Arstechnica. 
  11. ^ Popper, Ben (August 5, 2014). "Justin.tv, the live video pioneer that birthed Twitch, officially shuts down". The Verge. 
  12. ^ "Live-streaming site Justin.tv buffing up for e-sports channels". VentureBeat. March 10, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Letter from the CEO". Twitch.tv. August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  14. ^ Lanxon, Nate (August 25, 2014). "Amazon buys Twitch streaming service". Wired. 
  15. ^ "TwitchTV: Justin.tv's killer new esports project". The Next Web. June 6, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ Tam, Donna (July 17, 2012). "Autodesk to buy Facebook favorite Socialcam for $60M". CNET. Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Autodesk Signs Agreement to Acquire Socialcam". BusinessWire. July 17, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Socialcam Crosses 2M Downloads, Adds (Wait For It…) Video Filters!". TechCrunch. October 5, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Justin Kan Launches Exec For Real-Time Mobile Jobs". Forbes. February 29, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Handybook Buys Exec in a Deal for the On-Demand World". The New York Times. January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  21. ^ Graham, Paul (June 13, 2011). "Welcome Sam, Garry, Emmett, and Justin". Y Combinator Posterous. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Justin Kan Launches Exec For Real-Time Mobile Jobs". Forbes. February 29, 2012. 

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