Michael Seibel

May 17, 2024
5 min read

Early Life

Michael Seibel was born in 1982 in Brooklyn, NY, and later moved to New Jersey. He was in honour classes as a kid and was fond of history and science. However, it was around the eleventh grade that his academics started coming together. Michael was accepted to eleven of the twelve universities to which he applied. Michael also has a brother, Jason Siebel, who was a researcher at MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The two have a podcast about startups.

Michael Seibel Twitch

Michael Seibel is the co-founder and former CEO of the social video platform, Twitch. He is also a partner at the startup accelerator, Y Combinator, where he is the Managing Director of YC’s early stage.

In 2020 he was named to the Dropbox board of directors and a Reddit board member. Prior to moving to the San Francisco bay area, Michael spent a year as finance director for a US Senate campaign in Maryland. He lives in downtown San Francisco with his wife, Sarah, son Jonathan and daughter Jessica.

Education

Michael Seibel attended Yale University, where he studied political science and graduated in 2005.

Twitch

Twitch raised $35m in over three rounds during its funding rounds. It was funded by nine investors, which included Nelstone Ventures and Thrive Capital. During its operation, Twitch acquired six organizations, the most recent being IGDB.com in 2019. Another notable acquisition was Curse in 2016.

Michael Seibel Twitch

Twitch is a Black/African American-founded company that leads in the industries of gaming, video streaming, social media, and video. The founders include Michael Seibel, Emmett Shear (Current CEO), Justin Kan, Kyle Vogt, Omar Javed, and Kevin Lin.

Early Career

Seibel has been involved in the technology industry for over 20 years. After graduation, he worked at various startups, and co-founded Justin.TV, and co-founded Socialcam in 2011. After only eighteen months after launching in 2012, Socialcam was sold for $60m to Autodesk.

In 2006 he co-founded Justin.TV, a live-streaming video platform was one of the first to gain widespread popularity. Justin.TV, which was later rebranded to Twitch in 2014. He served as the company’s CEO until it was acquired by Amazon for $970 million.

Under Seibel’s leadership, Twitch became the world’s leading platform for gamers live-streaming, with over 15 million active users daily. The company has also launched several successful spin-off products, including Twitch Prime and TwitchCon.

At Y Combinator, Seibel has helped invest in and mentor over 2000 startups, including companies like Paystack and EquipmentShare. He also started the startup accelerator’s popular “Startup School” program, which offers free online courses on how to start a company.

In addition to his work in the tech industry, Seibel is an active angel investor and has invested in companies such as Afrostream, Cruise (which was acquired by General Motors), and SpoonRocket.

Since then, Seibel has served as a partner and CEO at Y Combinator, where he helps startups grow and scale their businesses. He is on the board of directors for several companies, including Reddit.

In this video, Michael shares a decade of experience from his time at T Combinator:

“Do I think things have changed a lot since I started in this world in 2006? No. But this world in 2006 gave someone who looks like me a chance, and I think it can give everyone [sic] a chance, too, if you actually demand it.”

Leadership Roles and Awards

Michael Seibel has held many leadership roles and has received numerous awards throughout his career.

Under his guidance, Justin.TV became the largest live video platform in the world and paved the way for Twitch to become the global leader in live streaming. As a result, twitch grew rapidly, reaching over 2 million unique broadcasters and 100 million monthly viewers. In 2017, Twitch was ranked as the 4th most popular website in the US by Alexa Internet.

Michael has been recognized with several awards for his work in the technology industry.

In 2020, Michael Seibel, CEO, and partner at Y Combinator accepted the TiE Global best incubator/accelerator award. In his acceptance, he said, “one of our core tenants is that we want to make silicon valley open and accessible to founders from anywhere in the world. And in my last five years working here, that’s been one of my core goals.”

Giving back

“A lot of the talk about the disadvantages of being an underrepresented minority in the startup world is counterproductive. What I don’t see it doing is inspiring people to achieve more….What I see it doing is scaring people into not trying. So, I think the intention is correct, right? But the outcome is not great.”

Michael Seibel is no stranger to success. And with that success, black founder Michael Seibel is giving back to the community with his initiatives to celebrate and support black-owned businesses in the tech industry.

By celebrating and supporting black-owned businesses, this inspiring entrepreneur is helping to create opportunities for more people of color in an industry that has long been underrepresented.

Michael Seibel is part of our Black Founders50 Series. Download the complete 2023 BBVA Founders50 list here.

BBVA envisions a vibrant Canadian technology ecosystem with significant participation from members of the Black community. We are on a mission to help establish 1000 successful, Black-led tech and tech-enabled businesses in Canada by 2030.

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