Twitter co-founder Biz Stone joins board of AV startup Chroma • TechCrunch

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone joins board of AV startup Chroma • TechCrunch

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone joins board of AV startup Chroma • TechCrunch

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Chroma, a startup working to create a new kind of audio-visual entertainment specifically for mobile devices, is now adding a Twitter co-founder to its board. The company today announced that Twitter and Medium co-founder Biz Stone, previously an angel investor in Chroma alongside the founders of Pinterest, will join the company’s board of directors to contribute his expertise in areas such as as design, product development, filmmaking and brand scaling.


An early Google employee, Stone worked on the Blogger team after its acquisition, before helping co-found Twitter in 2006.

He stayed with Twitter for several years as the company grew to be embraced by millions of users worldwide. In 2011, as Twitter hit the 100 million active user mark, the entrepreneur left to pursue new ventures with Obvious Corporation, a startup incubator and investment vehicle that had included his Twitter co-founder. Evan Williams and former Twitter executive Jason Goldman. The company notably incubated the Medium blogging platform. However, in 2013, Stone and the others focused on individual startups. For Stone, this led to the creation of Jelly, a question-and-answer app and search engine that was later sold to Pinterest.

In 2017, Stone publicly announced he was returning to Twitter to lead strategic vision, brand and culture, where he remained until 2021.

Over the years, Stone has also supported a number of companies, including Square, Pinterest, Slack, Nest, Intercom and Beyond Meat, where he now chairs the nominating and governance committee.

Stone said what initially appealed to him about Swedish audiovisual company Chroma was its CEO and founder, Andreas Pihlström, whom he met through an introduction by Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp. Pihlström previously worked as a creative director, design consultant, designer and prototyper at Pinterest, Beats Music and VSCO.

The two hit it off and started having monthly calls after Stone’s angel investment.

“It’s really about finding people I like to work with and hang out with — and going back and forth with ideas,” Stone said.

The Chroma team had a range of ideas but ultimately landed on AV technologies and their intersection with music and sound.

As Stone explains, the idea was to change the nature of music and sound and make it a more interactive and immersive experience. In practice, this involves tactile and dynamic visuals that create a sound-based digital space that users can explore and interact with for a variety of purposes.

The first product to test this concept was released last year, thanks to a partnership with music artist Arca to create an iOS app called Lux ​​Aeterna. The app offers an audio-visual experience to explore the music of the Venezuelan producer, DJ, singer and songwriter in a “meditative digital space”, the company said. Users fly through a virtual world, interacting with its music and sounds as part of the journey.

But that doesn’t show the full potential of the technology, which could have a range of use cases – some of which Chroma is currently exploring – that demonstrate other ways users could interact with audio and sound, than whether for play, meditation, relaxation, musical composition, etc. While the company plans to launch a product on mobile devices first, Stone thinks the technology could get even more interesting when and if Apple releases its own VR/AR headset.

“I think it will lend itself very well to metaverse gear when it’s more ubiquitous. But I can also see it on my Apple TV. I’d love to have it there. Anywhere there’s great sound and visuals,” he added. “Mobile [first] it’s just because that’s what everyone has.

Founded in 2021, Stockholm-based Chroma raised $5.4 million (€5.1 million) in seed funding last year from venture capital firms Singular and Adjacent, the syndicate of Berlin angels SpotiAngels, as well as other individual investors, including Stone and Pinterest co-founders Evan Sharp and Ben Silberman. Chroma previously raised €1.6 million in pre-seed funding.

As a board member, Stone expects to meet with the startup several times a month, in addition to board meetings. He says that with his angel investments, he generally sees himself as an advisor, which means he’s open to phone calls from the founders, but won’t call the company unless they want to. . Chroma did.

“These guys are brimming with different ideas [at Chroma] . So the challenge was to narrow it down because it’s a small team and to do something they don’t have to do a whole bunch of stuff,” Stone said. For now, the focus is on adding a sensory experience to the sound.

“The whole situation resembles this idea of ​​a ‘sound game’. . . it’s interactive. It changes nature music to be more 3D-rich, but it’s also visual and . . . you can do things there,” Stone hinted.

The board job isn’t the only thing Stone has in the works, as the entrepreneur says he’s been ‘joking around’ about something else for himself with a small group of people. . So far, the project is self-funded and hasn’t been officially launched, so it keeps quiet about details. However, Stone says he is particularly interested in the emerging AI space and the use of AI as a tool, in particular.

He says he hasn’t been particularly interested in some of the other newer tech trends, like web3 or certain aspects of the metaverse.

“The [web3] culture does not appeal to me. There is something wrong with me,” Stone explained. As for the metaverse: “I don’t want a dystopian future where kids are standing in the room with a scuba mask on all day. I don’t want that to happen. It doesn’t look good to me,” he adds.

“Biz brings to our table a wealth of experience in technology and design. Together, we will pave the way for the future of sound: combining excellence in the digital space with forward-thinking to change the paradigm of music,” Pihlström said in a statement.


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