Seth Goldstein

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Seth Goldstein
Graphing Social Patterns 07 Day One - Seth Goldstein of SocialMedia (1519152674) (cropped).jpg
Waltham, Massachusetts
Alma materColumbia University
Angel investor
Years active1993 – Present
Notable work
The Secret of Raising Money (co-authored with Michael Simpson)

Seth Goldstein (born 1970) is an American entrepreneur and angel investor. He has founded six companies,[1] including Crossfader,, SiteSpecific, SocialMedia,[2] and Majestic Research.[3] [4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Goldstein was born in Waltham, Massachusetts. His father, Larry, was a software engineer, and his mother Faye, was an entrepreneur. He started acting as a child, and began to perform professionally at the age of 10.[6][7][8]

Goldstein attended high school at Newton South[9] and spent his senior year at Interlochen Arts Academy, a private boarding school focused on the performing arts in Interlochen, Michigan.[10] He attended college at Columbia University, where, as a student, he founded the Columbia Theater Network (CTN).[11] Goldstein graduated in 1992 with a degree in dramatic literature.[12]


1993–2001: Riverbed Media, SiteSpecific, Flatiron Partners[edit]

Following his graduation, Goldstein worked as an archivist for Robert Wilson's Byrd Hoffman Foundation and then founded Riverhead Media with multi-media artist Paul Kaiser and publisher Joost Effers. In 1993 he received a fellowship and moved to Frankfurt, Germany where he was a multi-media artist-in-residence at the Center for Art and Media Technology, and later initiated the creation of a production and research laboratory for multimedia applications at Jeff Shaw's ZKM Institute for VisualMedia. While in Frankfurt, Goldstein also worked for the Frankfurt Ballet and collaborated with its director William Forsythe on the creation of Improvisation Technologies, a CD-ROM that illustrated Forsythe's choreographic method. [13] He returned to New York in late 1994, and worked briefly as an HTML producer for, Wolff New Media, and at Condé Nast. While there, he heard about an opportunity to create an internet presence for Duracell, and in 1995, he and David Byman co-founded SiteSpecific, an interactive marketing company.[14][6][8][15][16]

Launched in Goldstein's apartment with computers financed through credit cards, SiteSpecific's initial focus was on Duracell. With a staff of three, the company developed a brand awareness campaign which included seeding images of the batteries on major internet sites. SiteSpecific later won a Clio for their work on the Duracell corporate site. Site Specific was acquired by CKS Group in May 1997 for $6.5 million.[3][16]

In 1998 Goldstein joined the VC firm Flatiron Partners,[17] founded by Fred Wilson and Jerry Colonna. An entrepreneur-in-residence and investment principal, he built and managed a $75 million new-technology portfolio of pervasive computing investments.[3][18]

2002–2010: Majestic Research, Root Market, SocialMedia[edit]

After the dot-com collapse of 2001, in 2003, Goldstein launched Majestic Research,[19] an investment research company which used ComScore and other data to generate proprietary guidance for buy side funds. He served as the company's founding CEO and then chairman until 2010, when the company was acquired by Investment Technology Group for $75 million.[3][20]

In January 2005, with Jerry Neumann and Candice Sherman, Goldstein co-founded Root Markets [21] a financial exchange allowing consumers to sell online data about themselves. In late 2006, he and his family moved to the Bay Area, and in 2007, he launched, a social advertising platform for publishers. With Dave Gentzel, a 24-year-old programmer, Goldstein developed an app that let people throw virtual items of food at one another. To acquire the virtual food, users paid with virtual currency; to acquire the currency, users answered questions posed by marketers. Called FoodFight, it attracted 2 million users. FoodFight was followed by successful apps including, Happyhour and Appaholic, and SocialMedia. The company was sold to LivingSocial in 2011 for an undisclosed amount.[22] [23][24]

2010–Present: Stickybits,, Crossfader, DJZ, LiveAds[edit]

In 2010, Goldstein launched Stickybits with Billy Chasen, an artist and programmer he had met in 2006. Originally envisioned as "digital graffiti," it enabled users to attach digital media to real-world objects using barcodes which could be read by smartphones. Stickybits launched with 300,000 Stickybits[25] at SXSW in 2010, but struggled to become sustainable.[26] Chasen and Goldstein subsequently relaunched the company as 'An "egalitarian online social music platform," it attracted more than 600,000 users in four months and raised $7 million in funding at a $37 million valuation. [27] In early 2012, after disagreements over's direction, Goldstein began to shift his focus towards new projects while remaining chairman of the company.[28]

A lifelong music fan, Goldstein was exposed to Electronic dance music while at and at festivals such as Burning Man. In September 2012, he launched DJZ, a content site which combined editorial, videos, DJ mixes, interviews, contests, and links to pages for popular DJs.[29][30] It also offered a free iPhone app, called DJZTxT, that allowed users to create dance music through text messages using emojis. It was funded by Index Ventures, True Ventures and Google Ventures, in addition to Troy Carter and Shari Redstone.[31]

While at DJZ, Goldstein developed an app with iOS engineer Ilias Karim.[32] Called Crossfader, it allowed users to create their own music through an iPhone-based remix and DJ platform that used loops and filters controlled by a gyroscope and accelerometer.[27]

In July 2016, he founded LiveAds, a creative agency and production studio.[33][34]

Activism, philanthropy, and related work[edit]

Goldstein was the founding co-chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's User Generated Content and Social Media committee, which set standard definitions, common metrics and industry best practices for the social media advertising industry.[35] He has been an active advisor to the US State Department Global Entrepreneurship Program, and has traveled to Egypt, Greece and Turkey to as part of the program.[36] In 2005, he co-founded the non-profit organization Attention Trust.[37] It distributed free software designed to act as an interface between Web users and marketers and educated internet users on issues related to the marketing value of their online activities.[38]

Goldstein co-wrote The Secret to Raising Money with Michael Simpson. It was published in 2012.[6] He has spoken at conferences including Billboard magazine's FutureSound, the IAB Annual Leadership Forum,[39] Big Omaha, and O'Reilly Web 2.0.[40][41][42]


The father of two sons, Goldstein lives in Marin County, California.[43]

Investments (partial list)[edit]

Boards and affiliations[edit]

  • Attention Trust, Founder, 2005–present
  • Director, Valassis, June 1999 – April 2006
  • Director & Co-Chair, Social Media Committee, Internet Advertising Bureau, April 2009 – April 2011


  1. ^ Trefilleti, Gary (August 1, 2012). Internet Ad Pioneers: The Stories Of The Unsung People Behind The Birth And Growth Of The Internet Ad Industry. New York: CreateSpace.
  2. ^ Hansell, Saul (July 16, 1999). "Compressed Data; Youthful Leader for Internet Push". New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Robehmed, Natalie (June 20, 2012). "How To Be A Practical Dreamer: Lessons From Turntable's Seth Goldstein". Forbes. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  4. ^ Helm, Burt (April 30, 2012). " Where Did Our Love Go?". Inc. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  5. ^ Huspeni, Andrea (July 24, 2012). "The Top 50 Early Inivestors in Silicon Valley". Business Insider. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Warner, Andrew (March 5, 2014). "The guy who sold a company for $56M explains the secret of raising money". Mixergy. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Seth Goldstein at ART". American Repertory Theater. ART.
  8. ^ a b Goldstein, Seth. "Media Futures, Part 3/5: API". Majestic. Transparent Bundles. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Student Life". The Regulas via Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Fall Reunion Interlochen". Interlochen. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  11. ^ Ross, Jonathan (March 29, 1989). "Student Theater Groups Want Control of Schapiro Theater". Columbia Daily Spectator. p. 11. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Start Up Directory: DJZ". Columbia University. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  13. ^ Haffner, Nick (August 1, 2012). William Forsythe: Improvisation Technologies. Berlin, Germany: ZKM. p. 10. ISBN 978-3-7757-2184-4.
  14. ^ Bounds, Wendy (September 20, 1996). "Dueling Business Generations (cover story)". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  15. ^ Smith, Andrew (August 30, 2012). Totally Wired: The Wild Rise and Crazy Fall of the First Dotcom Dream. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1847374493.
  16. ^ a b Frost, Robin (May 20, 1997). "SiteSpecific Founder Tells His Rags-to-Riches Tale". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  17. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (March 29, 2000). "White Noise in the Huddle Room: A Day in an Incubator". New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  18. ^ Williams, Sam (April 14, 2006). "Seeking Attention". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  19. ^ Messina, Judith (January 10, 2005). "Surviving Success - Former Silicon Alley superstars revamp their acts to prosper in a new age, where profits are preferred and experience pays". Crain's New York. p. 15.
  20. ^ Davis, Ann (March 5, 2004). "Increasingly, Stock Research Serves the Pros, Not 'Little Guy'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Root Markets". Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  22. ^ Chervokas, Jason (June 16, 1998). "The New Boys Network". CNN. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  23. ^ Heilemann, John (October 18, 2007). "The man who started the foodfight". Business 2.0 (via CNN). Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  24. ^ "FACEBOOK Digging Deeper Into Social Banners: Interview with Seth Goldstein, CEO of Social Media". Adweek. June 26, 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  25. ^ Walker, Rob (September 3, 2010). "The Back Story". New York Times (Sunday magazine). Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  26. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (March 8, 2010). "The Secret Lives Of Objects: StickyBits Turn Barcodes Into Personal Message Boards". TechCrunch. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  27. ^ a b Gardiner, Ross (June 7, 2016). "CROSSFADER'S SETH GOLDSTEIN: THE SILICON VALLEY CAPITALIST TURNED DANCE MUSIC FANATIC". Pulse. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  28. ^ Shontell, Alyson (September 12, 2012). "Turntable's Seth Goldstein Raises $1 Million For A New Music Startup, DJZ". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  29. ^ Sisario, Ben (September 12, 2012). "MEDIA Building a Home Online to Suit Electronic Music". New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  30. ^ Mac, Ryan (October 30, 2012). "DJZ: Connecting Generation Z With A Booming Electronic Music Business". Forbes. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  31. ^ Peoples, Glenn (October 31, 2012). " Chairman Seth Goldstein Returns With EDM-Centric DJZ". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  32. ^ "Crossfader iOS Audio Superpowered Case Study". Superpowered. August 8, 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  33. ^ Burcher, Nick (August 12, 2016). "BY NICK BURCHER, HEAD OF SOCIAL, MEDIACOM EMEA 25 AUG 2016 13 min read The Olympics is over, here is a look at the Games through the lens of social media". Media Com. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  34. ^ "LiveAds". Live Ads (corporate site). Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  35. ^ Maddox, Kate (June 8, 2009). "IAB sets social media guidelines". AdAge. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  36. ^ "The Global Entrepreneurship Program" (PDF). US Department of State. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  37. ^ "Working the Crowd". The Economist (Technology Quarterly). March 8, 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  38. ^ Technology Quarterly Staff (March 8, 2007). "Working the Crowd". The Economist. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  39. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (June 2, 2008). "Exec: Ad industry must think small to tap social sites". CNET. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  40. ^ Walker, Leslie (March 9, 2006). "Tools Employ The Human Factor; Start-Ups Offer New Ways to Collect and Share Data". Washington Post (via Highbeam). Archived from the original on November 20, 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  41. ^ Biilboard Staff (November 22, 2011). "Video:'s Seth Goldstein Talks Site's Big Plans, Future Expansion". Billboard. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  42. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (June 2, 2008). "CEO of SocialMedia Network tells a roomful of Madison Avenue types that, yes, they can make money off Facebook". CNET. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  43. ^ "Seth Goldstein – The Realtime Report". Realtime Report. Retrieved 11 January 2017.

External links[edit]