Michael Acton Smith

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Michael Acton Smith OBE (born 1974) is the current co-CEO and co-Founder of Calm, a leading company in the meditation space.[1] He is also the founder of Firebox.com,[2] and founder and chairman of children's entertainment company Mind Candy – the creators of global children's phenomenon Moshi Monsters.[3] He has been described by The Daily Telegraph as "a rock star version of Willy Wonka"[4] and by The Independent as "a polite version of Bob Geldof."[5]

Career[edit]

In 1998, while in his early twenties, Acton Smith co-founded online gadget and gift retailer Firebox.com with university friend, Tom Boardman. The pair started out with a rent-free attic and £800 from undergoing a medical experiment. Within five years they were listed by The Sunday Times 'Fast Track 100' as the 13th fastest growing, privately owned business in the UK.[6]

In 2004 Acton Smith secured $10M backing and launched Mind Candy.[7] The company launched alternate reality game Perplex City, a global treasure hunt with £100,000 buried somewhere in the world that played out across various media including websites, text messages, magazines, live events, skywriting and multiple helicopters. The game received positive press coverage.[8] The game was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2006.[9] After three years (and $9M spent) Perplex City was placed on indefinite hold.[5]

In 2007 Acton Smith launched online world Moshi Monsters. Today, Moshi Monsters has over 90 million users around the world[10]. It has expanded offline[11] into best selling toys, the number one selling kids magazine in the UK,[12] a best selling DS video game,[13] a top 5 music album which has gone gold in the UK,[14] books, membership cards, trading cards and other products. In December 2013, Moshi Monsters teamed with Universal to release a full-length feature movie.[15]

In late 2012 Acton Smith co-founded Calm.com, along with longtime friend and fellow entrepreneur Alex Tew.[16] Throughout the following year, the two raised over 1.5 million from a broad group of angel investors to get the company up and running, but have not raised any money since.[17] By 2015, Calm had reached 2 million downloads worldwide and, after winning a British competition, launched the world's first "slow TV Ad".[18] That same year, Acton Smith released a book with Penguin called Calm: Calm the Mind, Change the World.[19] It was published in 12 countries.[20]

In July 2017, the release of Baa Baa Land, an eight-hour slow cinema film, was announced with Acton-Smith as Executive Producer. [21]

Acton Smith is also the founder of Ping Pong Fight Club,[22] Silicon Drinkabout,[23] and the Berwickstock Festival.[24] He was awarded a BAFTA in 2013 for Moshi Monsters[25] and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to the creative industries.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "That One Time I Was Tucked In By A Startup". Techcrunch. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "Moshi Monsters makes it third time lucky for dotcom entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mind Candy appoints Ian Chambers as new CEO". Licensing.biz. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  4. ^ "The man who gave birth to Moshi Monsters". Telegraph. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "The man who aims to hide a monster under every bed – Business Analysis & Features – Business". The Independent. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "BBC Radio 5 live – On the Money, 30/01/2011". Bbc.co.uk. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Hannah Prevett (19 August 2012). "A monster success". Elitebusinessmagazine.co.uk. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Daniel Terdiman (28 March 2013). "Perplex City Faces Reality Check". Wired.com. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Mind Candy: Michael Acton Smith – Startups.co.uk: Starting a business advice and business ideas". Startups.co.uk. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Mike Butcher (2 May 2013). "As Moshi Monsters Hits 5 years, Can it pull of Three new games?". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Jemima Kiss. "Moshi Monsters plans move into online children's TV | Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "ABC Figures Reveal Moshi Monsters Magazine is the Best Selling Children's Magazine in the UK". Bloomberg. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  13. ^ Tyler, Lewis (30 April 2012). "Moshi Monsters video game breaks chart record | Latest news from the toy industry | ToyNews". Toynews-online.biz. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Pakinkis, Tom. "Moshi Monsters album goes Gold – with no promotional airplay". Music Week. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  15. ^ James Batchelor (20 August 2013). "Moshia Monsters The Movie Hits Cinemas This Christmas". MCV UK. 
  16. ^ "Executives Need to Find Calm in a Stormy World". Forbes.com. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  17. ^ Sarah Perez (26 February 2013). "Relaxation Calm.com Launches iPhone App that Helps you Chill, Grabs $415K in Angel Funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "calm.com relaxation app unveils world-first two-minute 'slow TV' ad". thedrum.com. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  19. ^ Calm: Calm the Mind, Change the World
  20. ^ Ashley Macey (6 February 2016). "This New Journal Will Teach You to Be More Mindful". Brit+Co. 
  21. ^ Hanrahan, Mark (July 19, 2017). "Is this eight-hour sheep epic `the dullest movie ever'?". Reuters. Retrieved July 24, 2017. 
  22. ^ Kevin Maher (13 February 2014). "Inside London's Silicon Roundabout". Esquire. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  23. ^ Josh Halliday (17 July 2011). "Mind Candy – the monster that lurks on Silicon Roundabout". The Guardian. 
  24. ^ Judy Bevan (16 July 2011). "The Man Who Aims To Hide A Monster Under Every Bed". independent. 
  25. ^ Leo Kelion (30 December 2013). "Moshi Monster Founder and ARM's Ex-Boss Honoured". BBC. 
  26. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 14. 

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