Mixer co-founder on Microsoft pulling the plug, Twitch’s market power, and his startup journey
Matt Salsamendi, now 22, co-founded the streaming platform that came to be known as Mixer at age 16. (Photo Courtesy Matt Salsamendi) Matt Salsamendi was barely old enough to drive when he and James Boehm founded a game-streaming startup called Beam Interactive, based on technology that they had developed in their spare time for themselves and their friends.
He was 18 when they sold the company to Microsoft and joined the Redmond tech giant, forming the basis for its Mixer streaming platform and helping to lead its challenge to Amazon’s popular Twitch platform, before leaving last year.
And now, at age 22, he finds himself watching as the streaming world reacts to Microsoft’s decision to shutter Mixer and join forces with Facebook Gaming.
“When we started, I was a 16-year-old kid working on what was effectively just a fun side project out of an IHOP, trying to build something for me and my friends,” he told GeekWire this week. “And what it ended up becoming was pretty awesome. Relative to a lot of the potential outcomes, this is a pretty good one.”
Salsamendi said he agrees with Microsoft’s decision, given the competitive challenges Mixer faced, and the investment it required. At the same time, he said he understands and empathizes with Mixer partners, streamers and users disappointed by the outcome.
The Mixer studio on Microsoft’s Redmond campus in 2018. (GeekWire File Photo / Nat Levy) “It’s a big deal for the community that streams every day or relies as a business on what Mixer did. For a lot of people, there’s a lot of uncertainty. And so if there’s any sadness or frustration on my part, I wish that there was a way to get more of a heads up and notice out there,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s hard to look back and be upset about where it ended up going.”
He has been staying in touch with members of the team, including original Beam members days who moved to the U.S. from Europe to work on Mixer.
“For them, this has been a really big part of their life, this is their story,” he said. “For some of those people, it’s coming to an end now, and that’s just a big thing to wrap your head around. So I’m just trying to be present and listen. For me, it’s more about the people than it is anything about what ended up happening to the company, although that is significant. I think I just had a lot of time to process that already.”
Salsamendi has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade, running Minecraft server hosting company MCProHosting since 2011.
Part of the Beam team in 2016, during their time at TechStars Seattle, as pictured in a GeekWire Startup Spotlight at the time : Micheal Yu, James Boehm, Matt Salsamendi, Luca Rager. He grew up in South Florida but moved to Seattle before launching Beam, and in some ways, his journey so far is Seattle startup success story. Salsamendi credits Beam’s participation in TechStars Seattle in 2016...