Seasoned Local Entrepreneur Becomes Live Video Streaming Provider’s New CEO

LiveSwitch, a startup provider of live, interactive video application technology that was born in Canada but now has a second HQ in Raleigh, has a new chief executive at the helm.

Seasoned Triangle entrepreneur Brian Hamilton became the company’s new CEO this month after making a significant investment in the startup known previously as Frozen Mountain last year.

This is by no means Hamilton’s first foray into the startup world. Hamilton co-founded Raleigh-based fintech Sageworks and led it as CEO before it was acquired by PE firm Accel-KKR in 2018. In between his time at Sageworks and LiveSwitch, the former Download Q&A subject has been active in nonprofit work, especially with his eponymous Brian Hamilton Foundation.

He even founded an international program called Inmates to Entrepreneurs that teaches people with criminal records to start their own businesses and starred in Free Enterprise, a TV show that aired on ABC that spotlighted former inmates as they work to build their own businesses. (We wrote about the show last April.)

With LiveSwitch, Hamilton said he sees a company on the cutting edge of video technology that can allow companies to engage with customers and unlock new revenue streams with ultra-low latency. It was a challenge that Hamilton felt prepared to meet and made it worth jumping back into the entrepreneurial game again with both feet.

While many saw video streaming as something sparked by the rapidly changing work and school environments fostered by the pandemic, Hamilton sees LiveSwitch’s role in society as something much larger.

It’s the type of technology that enables a business meeting to transcend flight costs, travel delays or regional connections.

“Some people think it was a Covid phenomenon,” Hamilton said. “To me, it was a long phenomenon. It’s going to affect every part of our lives, so I’m excited by that.”

Hamilton now joins an executive board that includes LiveSwitch’s founders (and brothers) Jerod Venema and Anton Venema.

Hamilton describes LiveSwitch as the Intel chip to the video business, essentially a vital piece that allows companies to build from their technology. And there’s plenty more the company has in store to drive improved video experiences beyond the Zoom experiences many workers and students have grown accustomed to.

“Most video experiences are very static,” Hamilton said. “There’s not a lot of life to them. There’s not a lot of connection.”

LiveSwitch differentiates itself as a video tech platform due to its lower latency (which means a smaller time delay between when people hear your words and see your gestures on video). They also can accommodate many more concurrent users than competitors, Hamilton said.

The Path Here

In every entrepreneurial endeavor Hamilton has taken on, he said he’s always wanted to improve others’ quality of life.

It started with his laundromat chain he built coming out of college. He saw a way to make the experience better for people who can’t afford their own washers and dryers.

With Sageworks, he envisioned a business that could help small businesses succeed.

And now he is working toward a more real and intimate video experience so we can communicate in more meaningful ways.

As the newly minted LiveSwitch CEO, he’s also focused on growing recurring revenue and ensuring employees feel motivated.

“We want to make it an engaging place to work, a very exciting place to work,” Hamilton said. “When you run a business, you’ve got the employees, you’ve got the customers and you’ve got the investors. We want to make sure that all three of those are satisfied.”

Reaching profitability and scaling to new customers are just a few things LiveSwitch is approaching as the startup nears the end of 2022.

“We’re at the very beginning of what’s possible for video,” Hamilton said. “We’re not even in the middle. We’re at the very beginning. So we want to be an innovator. We want to make an impact.”

Still, LiveSwitch is very much the Venemas’ brainchild, and Hamilton does not expect to be the company’s CEO for decades on end. He said he’s temporarily coming onboard to add his experience to the company’s leadership.

“Jerod Venema and Anton Venema are absolute visionaries in this industry,” Hamilton said. “I’m a big believer in the current management.”

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