Every day someone is finding a new a way to shift the paradigm within the entertainment industry. At Confluence Summit, hear from visionaries who are bringing game changing content, technology and business strategies to the forefront. Join us in Silicon Valley for a day of conversation, inspiration and exchanging of ideas. For program updates, join our newsletter here.
Entrepreneur, investor, and two-time NBA All-Star and record-holder, over a thirteen-year career, Baron Davis played for the Charlotte Hornets, the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the New York Knicks. Known for his electrifying style on the court, Davis was a powerful point guard, who won national acclaim for executing in crucial, high-pressure moments, when his team needed him the most. As a businessman, Baron was one of the original investors for Vitaminwater and helped launch Thrive Market.
Baron is also the founder of several companies, including Sports and Lifestyle in Culture (SLIC), The Black Santa Company, Business Inside the Game (BIG) and No Label—each with the objective of combining creative talent with original publication and production to develop and provide educational and empowering stories that appeal to global audiences of all ages.
Baron also served as producer of several acclaimed documentaries including Crips and Bloods: Made In America, 30 for 30: Sole Man, and The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce.
Stanley Tang is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of DoorDash, the largest on-demand food delivery app in the US.
He grew up in Hong Kong, and moved to the Bay Area to study Computer Science at Stanford. Topics in technology that interest Stanley revolve around robotics, design, cities, and transportation. Stanley founded Bearcat Content with his partner Gloria Zhu to identify projects that explore these topics, and find ways for Silicon Valley to work closer with Hollywood.
DoorDash's story started in the Fall of 2012 by Stanford students Andy Fang, Stanley Tang, Tony Xu and Evan Moore. Inspired by small business owners and sellers, the company began with a simple mission: to enable every merchant to deliver.
Since its humble beginnings of throwing a landing page up and personally delivering food on campus in Palo Alto, DoorDash is now making deliveries in more than 4,000 cities across the U.S and internationally, and is valued at $12.6 billion. Through its community of merchants, Dashers, and customers, the company's commitment to connecting customers to every business on Main Street, from local favorites to nationwide staples, continues to grow stronger.
David Rogier is the co-founder and CEO of MasterClass, where he is leading the company’s re-imagination of online education. Based in San Francisco, MasterClass was founded on the idea that everyone should have "access to genius." David grew up in Los Angeles where he became known for two things: entrepreneurship (he sold his first company, an Internet search engine, while still in middle school), and asking too many questions in class. David attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he met renowned tech investor Michael Dearing, whom he went to work for after graduation. After a year with Michael, David decided what he really wanted to do was rekindle his two favorite pastimes from his youth: entrepreneurship and question-asking, by starting MasterClass (Michael became his first investor).
Sam Yam is the Co-Founder and President of Patreon, a platform that funds creators and artists through membership from fans. Prior to Patreon, Sam co-founded AdWhirl, a mobile monetization platform which was acquired by AdMob. Sam is also a YCE at YCombinator and has worked at Google, Yahoo, and Stanford's StartX. Sam graduated with a BS in CS from Stanford and is currently on leave from Stanford's Master's program in CS.
Gloria Zhu works at BlackRock as an Engagement Manager for wealth management advisors, family offices, and private banks in the Aladdin Wealth Tech division.
She grew up in the Bay Area, and attended UC Berkeley before starting her career in FinTech, building products for the underbanked(Square and Square) and ultimately moving into the investment management space(ICONIQ and BlackRock). Gloria is passionate about exploring topics of economic empowerment, the future of work, globalization, and new media, which is the main driver for the investments she makes at Bearcat Content with her partner Stanley Tang.
Founded in the Bay Area by Gloria Zhu and Stanley Tang, the Bearcat Content Collective invests in creatives and teams that embody the entrepreneurial spirit. We leverage our knowledge in technology and finance to support content and companies in the entertainment space dedicated to innovation, sparking social change, and economic empowerment.
As President of Skydance Interactive, a dedicated subsidiary of Skydance Media that creates and publishes original virtual reality experiences and video games, Peter Akemann oversees and executes the strategic vision for the group. Skydance Interactive was formed in April of 2016 when Skydance acquired leading game developer The Workshop Entertainment, of which Akemann was President and Co-Founder.
Akemann launched The Workshop in 2008 alongside the other original members of Treyarch, which sold to Activision in 2001 and now leads the Call of Duty franchise. He co-founded Treyarch in 1995, where he oversaw the development of the company's cross-platform graphics engine. Akemann has shipped over 20 titles across first, second and next-generation platforms and built the Treyarch team from three to over 200 employees.
He has over 20 years of experience in gaming and his experience span a wide breadth of acclaimed franchise games, including Gears of War 4, XCom 2, Armored Warfare, The Evil Within,Sorcery, Spider-man, Spider-man II and Die By The Sword, among others. He holds a PhD from University of California Berkeley and BA in mathematics from the University of California San Diego.
Ms. Sheri Bryant works in the field of virtual entertainment, heading up business development and marketing strategy for Linden Lab, creators of the first virtual world Second Life. Sheri oversees Sansar, Linden’s new social VR platform, currently in open beta.
She spent most of her career in Los Angeles riding the wave of digital entertainment. Before leaving LA for Silicon Valley, Ms. Bryant was Co-Founder and CEO of Geek & Sundry, a popular entertainment network recognized for providing the internet's best geek culture content to audiences across the globe. Ms. Bryant oversaw the company's financial growth, strategic brand partnerships, programming, and distribution, ultimately selling the company to Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment. Ms. Bryant began her career working for The Walt Disney Companyas a financial analyst. She has spent her adult life promoting diversity and championing Asians in the entertainment and tech industries. Sheri currently is the happy mother of a seven-year old son, and spends any spare time (lol none) riding, diving, and chasing dragons.
Carmen Carpenter is a Managing Director at Evolution Media and is responsible for the origination, structuring, and execution of media and entertainment M&A and financing transactions. Prior to joining Evolution, Carmen served as Senior Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the Entertainment Industries Group, where she oversaw the bank’s portfolio of more than $1 billion in direct commitments to companies in the content production and distribution sector. Previously, Carmen held similar positions as Director at Royal Bank of Scotland’s Entertainment and Media Group and Director at GE Capital’s Media, Communications and Entertainment Group. She began her career at Comerica Bank’s Entertainment Group, where she managed a portfolio of single-picture project loans, print and advertising financings, and corporate facilities. Carmen holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
Tim is an experienced investor and global executive. He has been twice named to the Forbes Midas list of Top Tech Investors and received the Gamification Summit award for Special Achievement. Tim’s venture capital experience includes leading investments at Norwest Venture Partners and Gabriel Venture Partners. His operational experience includes working in product management and engineering across Asia for Gateway, Inc., and General Motors. Tim holds an MBA with honors from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an MS and BS in Electrical Engineering/System Engineering from the University of Michigan. Tim is an accomplished musician, who performs in three bands, as well as a body- and consciousness-hacking enthusiast.
Courtney Chow is on the Investment Team at Battery Ventures and focuses her time on consumer-tech and marketplace investments. Founded in 1983, Battery backs companies at stages ranging from seed to private equity and invests globally from offices in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, London, Israel and New York.
Previously, Courtney worked in Business Operations at LinkedIn where she led product strategy focused on growing the company’s member base and user engagement. Prior to that, she worked on the Strategy and Operations Team at AmazonFresh, focused on supply chain, inventory management, and operational strategy. Courtney also spent time as a Venture Design Fellow at IDEO, prototyping venture concepts around IoT and Blockchain, as well as a Venture Analyst at Collaborative Fund, prospecting early stage investment opportunities around consumer products.
Stephanie Chuang is the founder of The Patient Story, a company born out of her own survival of cancer in 2017. The website features in-depth stories of cancer survivors to help newly-diagnosed patients and caregivers better understand what they may be dealing with during and after treatment. Previously, Stephanie spent a decade in TV news as an Emmy-nominated journalist. She was last working at NBC Bay Area as a Special Projects and San Francisco-based reporter.
Ken has over 18 years of experience in public accounting, 16 of them associated with business management services. He specializes in the entertainment industry, Superfund accounting, Business Improvement Districts, high-net-worth individuals, and small businesses and their owners. Ken’s expertise is in identifying his clients’ accounting and finance needs and tailoring unique solutions. Ken also specializes in cloud-based accounting and management reporting solutions to small and growth-oriented companies and nonprofits. He acts as personal CFO for many of his clients by structuring business entities, managing day-to-day finances, providing investment and cash flow analysis, implementing retirement plans, overseeing insurance needs, and tax planning. Ken holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire and attended postgraduate studies at UCLA.
Larry Cutler is Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of the Emmy, Annie and Webby award-winning interactive VR/AR animation studio, Baobab Studios. With a mission to inspire you to dream by bringing out your sense of wonder, Baobab Studios has released five projects to date, all to commercial success and critical acclaim including, winning the first-ever Daytime Emmy Award for Best Interactive Media in 2017, its second award in 2018 and its third award in 2019.
Founded in 2015, Baobab is considered to be the world's leading independent interactive animation studio. They have won six Emmy awards as well as the first-ever Annie award for Best Virtual Reality Production. Crow: The Legend, both a traditional linear animated short film as well as an interactive VR experience, won the most awards of any animated program or series, traditional and/or interactive, at the 2019 Emmy Awards. Crow also won the 1st ever Annie Award for Best Virtual Reality Production. This story inspired by a Native American legend stars a diverse cast including John Legend, Oprah, Constance Wu, Diego Luna, Liza Koshy, Tye Sheridan, Sarah Eagle Heart, and Randy Edmonds and features Legend’s original song, “When You Can Fly.”
Their most recent release, Bonfire, starring Ali Wong, premiered at The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival to critical-acclaim with how it seamlessly weaved together narrative and interactivity with innovative AI systems. Bonfire released as an exclusive launch partner with Oculus Quest. Bonfire won Best in Show at SIGGRAPH’s inaugural Immersive award and at Sandbox Film Festival.
Baobab’s Emmy award-winning VR animation, INVASION!, starring Ethan Hawke, launched to substantial critical-acclaim and has become a top downloaded VR experience. In a first, Hollywood is taking IP from VR to become a feature film: Roth Kirschenbaum Films (Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman) has signed on to adapt INVASION! into a big screen feature film "flattie". Baobab won a second Emmy for its second immersive animation, ASTEROIDS! starring Elizabeth Banks, an official 2017 Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival selection. Baobab also premiered Jack (Part 1) at The Tribeca Film Festival, a location based immersive theater experience, starring Lupita Nyong'o.
Larry brings deep technical leadership over the past 20 years in the area of animation creation and development. Larry currently serves on the Digital Imaging Technology Subcommittee for the Oscar Technical Achievement Awards. He was most recently the Vice President of Solutions at Metanautix, a big data analytics startup company (acquired by Microsoft). Previously, Larry was Global Head of Character Technology at Dreamworks Animation, leading character development, animation workflow, rigging, and character simulation. Larry began his career at Pixar Animation Studios as a Technical Director on the films Monster’s Inc., Toy Story 2, and A Bug’s Life. Larry holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in Computer Science from Stanford University.
Kun Gao is Co-Founder and former CEO of Crunchyroll, the world's largest destination for anime and manga, with more than 50 million registered users and over 2 million subscribers. At Crunchyroll, Kun spearheaded international content, business development, corporate strategy, monetization, marketing, and brand. He brings 15 years of experience in consumer media, including founding social mapping service Frappr, product and engineering roles at Slide and HOTorNOT. Kun graduated from U.C. Berkeley with honors B.S. in Electrical Engineer and Computer Science and B.A. in Applied Mathematics in 2004, and was a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon focusing on Database research.
Kai Huang was co-founder and CEO of Blue Goji, an interactive fitness company that brings motivation and fun to health and fitness. Prior to Blue Goji, he co-founded video game publisher RedOctane and was President and CEO from 1999 to 2009. RedOctane was the publisher of Guitar Hero, which went on to become a multi-billion dollar global video game franchise and was acquired by Activision in 2006. Prior to RedOctane, Mr. Huang was co-founder and CEO of Adux Software, which was sold in 1999. Mr. Huang started his career as a consultant with Accenture in the San Francisco office.
Kevin has been actively financing companies in the media, entertainment and technology industries for more than 15yrs. Kevin has led or been a key part of financings for transactions in a variety of sectors, including: film production and distribution, broadcast television, cable programming, music publishing, software as a service, and television production. Throughout the past decade, Kevin has overseen the commitment of more than $5B of capital in content related sectors, and more recently has overseen capital deployment in transactions that focus on the convergence of certain technology and media driven businesses.
James Kuk is the Global Head of Business Development at Twitch, where he oversees strategic partnerships with video game companies, esports leagues, and content creator businesses. A co-founder of the company's business development team, James led innovative, commercial partnerships with companies such as Activision-Blizzard, Riot Games, Turner, and the NBA. Prior to Twitch, James worked at Xbox Game Studios driving strategy and partnerships for marquee game franchises and esports. James holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
Steven Lim is an Executive Producer at BuzzFeed Studios. He is best known as the creator & host of the award-winning food show, Worth It, that explores one dish at three drastically different price points. Currently in its 7th season, Worth It has become one of the most watched shows on YouTube with more than 1 billion views to date. Prior to working at BuzzFeed, Steven was a chemical engineer at Procter & Gamble working on the launch of Tide Pods. He got his start in making content by spending all of his free time sharing untold Asian American stories on his YouTube channel.
Matt runs WarnerMedia’s Applied Analytics division, which uses data and analytics to drive strategic marketing and creative decisions across its operating divisions, including Warner Bros., Turner, and HBO. He joined WarnerMedia via its acquisition of Legendary Entertainment’s Applied Analytics division. Matt founded Applied Analytics and served as Legendary’s Chief Analytics Officer. Prior to Legendary, Matt founded StratBridge LLC, which had two software solutions: “moneyball” player analysis software used by many organizations in the NFL, NBA, among others, and dynamic pricing and revenue analysis software used by many professional sports teams (acquired by Legendary in 2014, after he had joined Legendary).
Alex Mehr is a serial entrepreneur and former NASA scientist. He has launched over 30 products, done over $1 Billion in revenue, and recently sold Zoosk for $300 Million. Currently he is the CEO of MentorBox and Knowledge Society.
Alissa Miller advises a variety of clients in the entertainment and media industry, including borrowers, distributors, studios, independent production companies, equity investors, high-net-worth individuals, completion guarantors and others involved in a broad range of entertainment-related transactions, with a focus on media finance and distribution. She also advises film and television clients in connection with tax-advantaged financing and co-production arrangements.
Jon Penn is CEO of National Research Group (NRG) -- a leading global insights and strategy firm with 40 years of media, entertainment and technology expertise. Known for pioneering the Hollywood research industry, NRG is an essential resource for creators, marketers and innovators to connect their content, products and brands with consumers everywhere on every screen.
For two decades, Jon has expanded the strategic value of media, entertainment and technology research by applying insights from both political and corporate polling. Before leading NRG, Jon was the Founder and CEO of the Media and Entertainment practice at Penn Schoen Berland, which he built to become one of the most successful and influential global entertainment consultancies. Jon previously served as Director of Internet Strategy for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign win in 2000.
Jon is an Advertising Research Foundation award winner as well as a contributor and pollster to The Hollywood Reporter. Jon is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
Matt Pohlson is the co-founder and CEO of Omaze, the online fundraising platform that offers people the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences while supporting nonprofits around the world. Omaze has raised over $100 million for charities by making it fun and easy for people to give back. Omaze’s fundraising and awareness campaigns bring together influencers, nonprofits and donors around the world to create real, lasting impact.
Since launching in 2012, Omaze has partnered with top celebrities, brands, influencers and franchises, impacting more than 350 charities with donations from over 180 countries.
Kevin Richardson joins the TOKYOPOP team with over 10 years experience as a Hollywood creative executive at major studios and networks such as: 20th Century Fox Television, NBCUniversal and Disney-ABC. Kevin’s entertainment career began in front of the camera before transitioning to a creative executive in development, programming and production. His blended background across all areas of the entertainment industry helped him achieve success in bringing to screen some of television’s most iconic and popular shows, such as the historic first season of Fox’s Empire, 24: Live Another Day, Glee, Raising Hope, Mind Games, Hieroglyph, Runner and The Crazy Ones with one of his comic and actor idols – the late Robin Williams.
Along with founder Stu Levy, Kevin leads the company in developing and producing content for television and film based on TOKYOPOP’s rich library of manga, graphic novels and comics from some of the industry’s most compelling and diverse voices. As an executive that talent trust and value, Kevin has also served as a go-to consultant for writers and directors with deals and projects at Netflix, WarnerMedia, Warner Bros Film, Alcon, Fox, CBSTV Studios and HBO.
Bernie Su is a three-time Primetime Emmy award-winning short form and interactive creator and showrunner. He is the co-creator and showrunner of Artificial, the first live audience-interactive science fiction series to debut on Twitch, recently named the 2019 Peabody Futures of Media Award winner and the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Innovation in Interactive Media. He is also known for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved, both interactive multi-platform adaptations of Jane Austen novels and winners of the first two Primetime Emmys ever awarded to a YouTube original series.
As Vice President, Marketing Strategy for ABC Studios, Thomes is responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies from development, broadcast, and international roll out for all current ABC Studios TV content across North America with a specific requirement to build the Studio brand and its visibility through the creation of creative, high profile and targeted initiatives to support ABCS development team, producers, North American sales directors, partners and broadcasters across the US and Canada. Previously Thomes was responsible for general management and oversight of branded digital video programming at ABC’s Digital Studio. There he oversaw production for content created by external producers, including derivative digital series, original digital first series and special event live programming for the Disney-ABC Television Group’s diverse portfolio of broadcast and cable networks, including ABC Entertainment, Freeform and Disney Channel networks.
He has been awarded two Emmys for his work at ABC in digital programming and was responsible for helping launch ABC’s foray into original scripted digital short with ABCd.
Prior to joining the Disney/ABC Television Group, Mr. Thomes oversaw digital production and programming for Saban Brands. There he managed the digital assets of Power Rangers and Paul Frank, among others.
Before Saban Brands, Mr. Thomes oversaw ABC.com's Digital Oscar Experience, which won the 2011 Emmy for Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. He has served as executive producer at Disney's Interactive Media Group where he oversaw video production and integrated ad sales production and earned four Disney Inventor Awards for his work on Disney Xtreme Digital. At DIMG, Mr. Thomes also produced The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora web series, a comedy cooking show and the Webby Award-winning Jim Henson¹s The Possibility Shop, a Disney.com, web-based original production focused on instilling creativity in kids and parents. Mr. Thomes is an active member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences serving as Governor for Interactive Media. He also served as Vice President, New Media for the Producers Guild of America from 2010-2012 and currently sits on the PGA’s New Media Council Board. Mr. Thomes holds a BA in Film and Television from University of California, San Diego.
Elizabeth Yin is a co-founder and General Partner at Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund for software entrepreneurs. Previously, Elizabeth was a partner at 500 Startups where she invested in seed stage companies and ran the Mountain View accelerator. In a prior life, Elizabeth co-founded and ran an adtech company called LaunchBit (acq 2014). Elizabeth has a BSEE from Stanford and an MBA from MIT Sloan.
Patrick Lee is the Co-Founder and former CEO of the film and television review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the online artist community alivenotdead.com, as well as the internet marketing firm Design Reactor, where his clients included ABC, Warner Bros., and Artisan Entertainment, among others. Currently, Mr. Lee serves as Co-Founder of Hobo Labs, where he focuses on building guild-based mobile games.
Katherine Winston has been at the forefront of marketing, event production, and emerging trends for nearly twenty years. As the co-founder and managing partner of WINSTON | BAKER, she oversees event production, marketing strategies, business operations, and new initiatives. Winston created the FILM FINANCE FORUM ® in 2008, which provides the leading series of events dedicated to bringing finance and entertainment executives together from around the world throughout the year. Prior to founding Winston Baker, she was Director of Marketing for RealD and was in charge of creative advertising, public relations, events, product launches, and screenings. Prior to RealD, Winston was Senior Marketing Manager for GoTV Networks, where she was responsible for all aspects of marketing strategy, including corporate and consumer marketing, new media advertising, experiential promotions, public relations, and brand partnership deals. Before GoTV, Winston was Conference Producer for Strategic Research Institute where she was responsible for producing high profile investment conferences for various sectors, including e-commerce, nanotech, medtech, defense & aerospace, biotech, law, real estate, and entertainment. Winston earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with honors from the University of Washington and is a Phi Beta Kappa member. As a fervent advocate of entrepreneurialism, Winston is dedicated to connecting creators and innovators with seasoned professionals who can fuel development and growth.
As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WINSTON | BAKER, Amy Baker oversees the company’s global strategic planning, business development and vendor relationships. Amy co-founded the FILM FINANCE FORUM ® in 2008, which provides the leading series of events dedicated to bringing finance and entertainment executives together from around the world. Prior to establishing Winston/Baker, she successfully directed B2B and B2C business development efforts for over 10 years by leveraging innovative sponsorship methods to engage business professionals. At ALM, as Vice President of Business Development, she provided finance executives and marketers with targeted channels for reaching decision-makers within the legal, entertainment, healthcare and tech sectors. In her previous position, Director of Business Development at RPMC, she worked with entertainment, music, and sports companies, creating event marketing programs, travel incentive services, sweepstakes, and media promotions. Amy received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with honors from New York University. In 2018 Amy was honored to join the National Board of Advisors for the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.
Winston Baker produces conferences globally for the entertainment industry addressing strategies for finance, innovation and growth.
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