Once the Founder’s Circle investment was conducted, there began the consistent flow of calls and conversations between Sam and Chris. The kind possible because Founders Circle was an investor in Elemental’s people rather than in the company.
IMAGINE being in Sam Blackman’s shoes last week, Founder & CEO of Elemental Technologies, at (Re)Invent, Amazon’s annual user conference. The sheer size of it was arresting. The volume of AWS customers present was breathtaking. And you (aka, Sam) were equal parts intoxicated and petrified. That, on the one hand, all of these customers now have easy access to Elemental’s streaming video technology while, on the other hand, bewilderment with how to handle it if all of them want it at the same time. That, in this vast hall, you’re witnessing Elemental’s mission—to be the market leader and most respected company in the video processing space —come to life into a single thrilling and sweat inducing concoction.
Now that Amazon has agreed to acquire Elemental Technologies, this is the high class problem faced by Sam and his co-founders Jesse Rosensweig (CTO) and Brian Lewis (Chief Architect). And having this moment occur at (Re)Invent was a fitting symbology for both how the company got to this point and where they go from here—by constantly reinventing.
As engineers in Portland at Pixelworks in the early 2000s, the founding team was progressively seeing the need for video processing power to be incarnated in a purpose-built semiconductor chip in order to deliver content to the expanse of mobile devices rapidly finding their way into consumers’ hands across the globe. They took their idea to the powers at Pixelworks where they were told that building a next-generation video processing architecture was not going to be a company priority. Instead, Pixelworks management encouraged the team to strike out on their own. In 2006, the founders took Pixelworks up on the offer as well as on some initial seed funding.