NextGen 10: Sports, Media & Entertainment [2019]

NextGen 10: Sports, Media & Entertainment [2019]

We're pleased to introduce this quarter's diversified class of industry disrupters entrepreneurs decision makers and rising stars in sports media and entertainment. From a golfer turned entrepreneur (Danny Wax) and messaging extraordinaire (Travis Montaque) to a music marketing powerhouse (Michelle Edgar), our NextGen10 share a hunger for innovation, a matchless determination, and an abundance of grit.

HEATHER BROOKS KARATZ [35] – LA
PRESIDENT
WILDCATS, XFL

About: I am responsible for the team’s fan engagement and business operations, including ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, content, communications, community relations, and the game day experience.
Company: The Los Angeles Wildcats are one of eight teams in the XFL, a new spring professional football league launching in February 2020. All Los Angeles Wildcats games will be nationally broadcast by XFL’s media partners, Disney, and Fox. The team will play its home game at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: Beverly Hills
Education: BA, Spanish, Vanderbilt University; JD, UCLA School of Law.
Industry: Sports
Awards: Honored as a WISE (Women in Sports and Entertainment) Woman of Inspiration for 2019 in Los Angeles.
Notable projects: Served as executive vice president and general counsel of the Los Angeles Football Club, one of the most successful expansion franchises in history, and Banc of California Stadium, a new premier venue in Los Angeles. Additionally, I represented more than 300 professional athlete clients across the NFL, NBA, and MLB as general counsel and senior vice president of Independent Sports and Entertainment and assisted with labor negotiations for the most recent NHL collective bargaining agreement.
Advice: Time is valuable. Use it wisely.
Success: Finding the perfect balance between personal and professional success.
Mentors: My parents
Local companies you admire: In-N-Out and The Walt Disney Company.
First job: Intern for the Washington Wizards when Michael Jordan was on the team.
Guilty pleasure: Frozen yogurt and tequila.
In the morning: My 3-year-old twins serve as my alarm clock by jumping on me in the early a.m. I have a mug of green tea and go to the gym.
Before bed: Catch up on the news of the day and on social media.
What keeps you up: I am president of a brand-new professional football team whose season is kicking off in a few months. We have a lot to do in a short amount of time.
Year ahead: Staying true to the Los Angeles Wildcats’ mission of authentically connecting with our community and developing a committed fan base.


MICHELLE EDGAR [37] – LA
VP BRAND MARKETING
EPIC RECORDS

About: I build strategic alliances between artists and brands through creative marketing and brand partnerships in the music and entertainment space. Giving back to the community and community building are also key to my work as executive director of Music Unites, a nonprofit funding after-school music education programs, and as founder of The XX Project, an invite-only membership community bringing leading women in business together across diverse industries to propel collaboration and innovation.
Company: Epic Records is a record label under Sony Entertainment. Artists on the roster include Travis Scott, DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Camila Cabello, Meghan Trainor, Jennifer Hudson, and Sade.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: BA, journalism and piano performance; minor, business, Northwestern University.
Industry: Entertainment
Awards: Recognized for creating strategic marketing partnerships and campaigns for Grammy-winning and up-and-coming artists.
Notable projects: Clients include Travis Scott, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, and Wu Tang Clan. Secured key sponsors such as American Express and SheaMoisture for 2019 Spirit of Life Gala honoring Epic Records Chairman and CEO Sylvia Rhone. Managed Rick Ross’ performance at the Alexander Wang/Bulgari fashion week event.
Advice: Troy Carter’s words of advice have always stuck with me: “Grace. It’s a powerful five-letter word.”
Success: Living your truth and pushing boundaries each and every day make it EPIC! Leaving behind a legacy with my work in the community.
Mentors: Sylvia Rhone (chairman/CEO, Epic Records), Lavinia Errico (co-founder, Equinox), Jon Cohen (co-founder and co-CEO, The FADER/Cornerstone Agency) and my mom, Barbara Ferraro.
Local companies you admire: Epic Records, BAM Ventures, Hello Sunshine, Netflix, Hillman Grad Network, Quibi.
First job: Vanity Fair
Guilty pleasure: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (second movement is a must!) and chocolate.
In the morning: Work out with a run or hot yoga class.
Before bed: Taking time to reflect.
What keeps you up: Recharge and rest are key to me. I need my beauty sleep!
Year ahead: Making sure I deliver the absolute best services for my company, artists, and brands, while innovating and pushing boundaries.


DAVID HALPERIN [34] – NY
PRINCIPAL
CRITERION GLOBAL

About: I co-founded Criterion Global over 10 years ago. The company has become a trusted partner to CMOs of major brands for orchestrating global media investment strategies that are accountable to business outcomes. We’ve brought numerous U.S./Western brands into international markets and created industry-changing best practices in how media is planned and bought for the digital-first brands of today.
Company: We were founded to bridge the gap between media-buying agencies and consulting firms—the latter having shallow practices in marketing and media, and the former heavily consolidated and disrupted by digital. Recently, we’ve expanded to build an in-house advisory practice for consumer-facing, mid-cap, and DTC brands all over the world. It’s been a nonstop adventure. Offices in Miami, NYC, and Singapore.
Residence: Miami Beach, but more often an airplane or customs line.
Company HQ: Miami with additional offices in NYC and Singapore.
Education: BS, School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Industry: Media agency
Awards: We don’t take awards too seriously, but we’ve won our fair share specific to the verticals of our practice, including the HSMAI Adrian Awards, Travel Marketing Awards, and Effie for advertising effectiveness. Our work is about making our clients look good, not filling our own shelves and ego.
Notable projects: We’ve been fortunate to represent a wide variety of brands in varied verticals, but I’m most proud of our work launching the world’s largest U.S.-based domain registrar internationally, first in the UK, then in India. This work struck at the core of what we do best.
Advice: Paraphrasing Warren Buffett, “When the tide goes out, you see who’s been swimming naked.” Hype fades. Good businesses don’t.
Success: When we’ve taken on big, complex, international, and difficult projects, sometimes outside our core competencies, and created value for clients.
Mentors: I’ve been very lucky to have a multitude of people such as parents, partners, and vendors offering advice and championing our success.
Local companies you admire: Outside of Ralph Lauren, there are so few people that completely embody the brands they create. The companies I admire are those that completely own and evolve their brands. A few: Tyler Brûlé of Monocle magazine, who launched his first U.S. store in Brentwood in 2009, and Patrick Drahi, now of Sotheby’s. Sotheby’s New York location is next to my NYC apartment, so I’m excited to see where Drahi takes that brand. And lastly, the late great Sir David Tang of Shanghai Tang.
First job: Salesperson at the Ralph Lauren in Georgetown for about 30 seconds.
Guilty pleasure: Panther Coffee in Miami and collecting cufflinks.
In the morning: Check my phone for emails that may have come in from other time zones while I was sleeping.
Before bed: Chat with our office in Singapore about the day’s adventures there.
What keeps you up: The nagging question: What am I not seeing that I should know about?
Year ahead: Continue to evolve from the perfunctory services of a media agency through the expansion of our consulting practice to empower brands to manage their global paid media independently.


BEN HINDMAN [35] – NY
CEO
SPLASH

About: I built a squad. Splash’s success has truly been a team effort. I’ve been so inspired by the entire team—our shared passion for connecting people and helping brands create amazing event marketing programs is the foundation for what we do every day. It’s also how we’ve built the culture at Splash to what it is today, centered around collaboration, creativity, and innovation. One recent innovation I’m especially proud of and personally championed was launching the current version of the Splash platform, which gives our customers more robust functionality and deeper analytics, all with an improved user experience.
Company: Splash helps businesses unleash the power of an in-person event across the organization. Leaders know how important it is to build face-to-face relationships with their customers and partners, but it’s difficult to empower people across the organization to host events without running into serious issues with brand integrity, data visibility, and compliance laws, like GDPR. Splash changes that. We’ve built a platform that makes it easy for a trusted team to design entire event marketing programs that other people in the business can then use to market their own events.
Residence: New York
Company HQ: New York
Education: Human and organizational development, Vanderbilt University
Industry: Entertainment
Awards: Splash was ranked 1,127 on the Inc. 5000 this year, which was a huge accomplishment for the whole team. Personally, I’ve been honored to show up on some pretty cool lists alongside people I really respect, including AlleyWatch 2019 NYC Tech Influencers, 2018 BizBash Top 500 People in Events, and NYC Tech’s 35 people to watch in 2016.
Notable projects: My walking tour company, DC by Foot, becoming No. 1 on TripAdvisor. Producing JetMystery, Thrillist’s mystery flyaway to Jamaica. Splash launching at SXSW and powering 500+ events.
Advice: “Don’t hope. Make damn sure.
Success: When I am no longer afraid.
Mentors: Eben Pagan, first investor in Splash; Myles Kleeger, president of Braze; Scott Belsky, CPO of Adobe; Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist.
Local companies you admire: Salesforce, Marketo, Spotify, Tableau, Red Antler, Breakfast.
First job: Dishwasher at an Italian restaurant in Cape Cod.
Guilty pleasure: Haribo Fruit Salad.
In the morning: I make a smoothie for my 2-year-old, Zoe.
Before bed: I honestly just pass out face-first every night.
What keeps you up: Not building the right product fast enough.
Year ahead: Build a community of world-class event creators. Attend 30+ events personally. Manage an elite executive team.


JAMES KARKLINS [33] – NY
PRESIDENT
OBSERVER MEDIA

About: I’m a digital media executive with 10+ years of experience in business information, media, and events across Australia and the United States, where I have scaled digital businesses for growth. I oversee Observer Media’s businesses, including Observer, Commercial Observer, and Realgraph. Prior to joining Observer Media, I was chief marketing officer for Newsweek.
Company: Observer is a digital media company chronicling the world’s power players in business, policy, entertainment, technology, art, travel, real estate, and dining.
Residence: New York
Company HQ: New York
Education: BS, marketing and international finance, Bond University, Australia
Industry: Online media
Awards: Featured in Connectiv’s Emerging Leaders.
Notable projects: Growing Observer Media’s brand to an even broader national audience, introducing additional markets, including Los Angeles and Washington, DC, and launching a new membership offering for commercial real estate professionals.
Advice: Do the right thing and good things will come!
Success: At Observer Media, I’ve led my team through a number of changes and rallied them around new initiatives. We have since grown double digits and become a profitable business in our space.
Mentors: My former bosses and my peers who continue to inspire, motivate, and push me every day.
Local companies you admire: Via. I take it every day to and from work. Via is a ride-sharing start-up in New York that’s trying to carve out a niche in a market dominated by Uber and Lyft.
First job: Working on the family farm in Australia, which taught me about hard work and responsibility at a very young age.
Guilty pleasure: Flat white latte from Bluestone Lane.
In the morning: I hit the gym and do a 10-minute meditation on Headspace, which helps me relax and have a clear approach to start my day.
Before bed: I tell Alexa to turn the lights off.
What keeps you up: Emails. And trying not to answer them.
Year ahead: To continue to build a national, digital-first, media and events company. And on a personal note, continue practicing meditation every morning and reading a new book each month.


KATIE LOEB [25] – NY
DIRECTOR OF BRAND AND STRATEGY
LOEB.NYC

About: Under my vision, Loeb.nyc has become one of the most unique and nimble venture firms in the space, identifying nascent start-ups and developing and funding them until fully fledged.
Company: By pairing smart capital with deep operational and marketing infrastructure, Loeb.nyc’s repeatable and dynamic model takes start-ups to the next level.
Residence: Chelsea, Manhattan
Company HQ: New York
Education: BS, psychology, Union College.
Industry: Media
Awards: Responsible for The Or Not Experience, the company’s proprietary event series geared toward brand marketers. It focuses on the latest trends and tactics in the investment space. The flagship event draws a crowd of over 200 and takes place every spring in Southampton, NY.
Notable projects: Relaunching Dstillery’s newly acquired self-service platform.
Advice: Be stubborn about the vision but flexible around the details.
Success: When I feel so aligned with what I am doing, and so in sync with my team, that we don’t feel the impact of bumps in the road.
Mentors: Justine Watkins, Bonin Bough, and my dad, Michael Loeb.
Local companies you admire: Quality brands that are well-produced and mission-driven, like Beekeeper’s Naturals, Four Sigmatic, and Simple Vodka.
Guilty pleasure: Anything on Bravo. I had to get rid of cable so I would stop watching the Real Housewives.
In the morning: Twenty minutes of meditation, followed by creative writing.
Before bed: Reading. I’m currently alternating between Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
What keeps you up: How to create sustainable, generative, and creative cultures in the workplace.
Year ahead: Streamlining processes. When we’re organized about how we approach tasks, we leave more room for creativity and serendipity.


MATTHIAS METTERNICH [33] – LA
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
ART OF SPORT

About: I am an entrepreneur educated in design, coding, and finance. I’ve built enterprise, cloud-based software companies and consumer e-commerce brands. I am vertically agnostic and love all opportunities to disrupt and create meaningful differentiation and improvement through design thinking.
Company: Art of Sport is a performance-driven body-care company formulated from the ground up with the world’s leading athletes and scientists. We are the only men’s skincare brand that has a full range of body-care products under $10 and designed without unnecessary chemicals. We launched in October 2018. We are now the fastest-growing men’s skincare brand in the country and available exclusively on Artofsport.com and Amazon.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: UCLA
Industry: Sports
Awards and Recognition: Art of Sport has been featured on ESPN and in USA Today, GQ, Sports Illustrated, and Men’s Health.
Notable projects: Beginning at age 14, I’ve started and built five companies.
Advice: My parents told me, “Maybe you should get a good, safe job at a large corporation.” It upset me, so I did exactly the opposite.
Success: Building a business that changes a category, grows to become the global standard, and outlasts me.
Mentors: My brother, Alex, because he only lives in the present, and he values things accordingly.
Local companies you admire: Beautycounter, Honey, ServiceTitan, Bodyarmor Sports Drink.
First job: At 14, I started a company selling computers in bulk to schools.
Guilty pleasure: Vanilla crème brûlée Keto cheesecake.
In the morning: Workout, coffee, news.
Before bed: Earplugs, AC set to 65.
What keeps you up: Seizing the enormity of the opportunity before us.
Year ahead: To finish our first year in business strong and continue our trajectory as the fastest-selling new men’s skincare brand online.


TRAVIS MONTAQUE [27] – NY
FOUNDER AND CEO
HOLLER

About: At age 23, I discovered a data-driven marketing method that provides greater emotional expression in today’s digital conversations. A regular speaker at marketing and tech events, I have taken the stage at Cannes Lions, CES, Social Media Week, Advertising Week, SXSW, and Harvard Business School.
Company: Holler is a messaging technology company that enriches conversations by creating and delivering useful, entertaining, expressive visual content that adds texture and emotion to messaging environments. Leveraging a team of cognitive AI scientists, engineers, digital animators, and media industry veterans, Holler aspires to reimagine how we communicate online by delivering relevant visual content at the right time within the context of a conversation. Holler partners with leading messaging platforms and delivers upwards of 170 million content recommendations each day to provide better chat experiences for users globally.
Residence: New York
Company HQ: New York
Education: BS, finance, University of Miami.
Industry: Media
Awards: 2015 Techweek 100; 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30; Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2018 Most Daring Entrepreneurs.
Notable projects: From having a leadership role at 15, managing roughly 100 people at 19, and starting a business in college, to now serving 600 million messages a day around the world, I have had a lot of career highlights. This past summer, we rebranded Emogi to Holler. To expand beyond content and into conversations as a whole, the company needed a name that more clearly aligned with our goal: to be the one-stop shop for improving messaging.
Advice: Never be the smartest person in the room. With Holler, I never want to be the best technology expert or animator because I know that is not best for my company. To get Holler to where we are today, I made sure to surround myself with the brightest people in the areas that are important to my company, be it partnerships, marketing, or engineering. To have success as a global company and cater to people in all corners of the world, we need to have diversity in thought and encourage varying expertise and perspectives to take a seat at the table.
Success: That stems from my team. When every individual feels empowered to share, create, and bring their full selves to the table, that is when I feel success as a leader.
Mentors: My boss at Chick-Fil-A taught me about the importance of a strong work ethic and how to be a leader. Today, I’m mentored by investors who’ve taken a personal interest in me and my career as well as advisors who each bring a different perspective to help me be a better CEO.
Local companies you admire: I have so many! But my favorite right now is Upgraid.me, which is focused on providing people a natural way to take care of themselves to perform brilliantly. Could not be more appropriate for a bunch of busy New Yorkers!
First job: I got my start at Chick-Fil-A at age 15, starting behind the counter and then rising through five promotions to manage 120 people as a general manager at age 19. I dove into the company and learned a lot as I grew to even work with corporate on their South Florida expansion initiative.
Guilty pleasure: Comic books and all things Marvel.
In the morning: Check daily stats on the platform. Then brush my teeth.
Before bed: Clear the in-box for a fresh start in the morning.
What keeps you up: Servicing 600 million messages a day.
Year ahead: Our goals are centered on growth: We are pushing the boundaries when it comes to our AI technology, in-house animated content, brand partnerships, and platform integrations. Holler’s offerings will be seamless, engaging, fun, and useful—exactly what people need, when they need it.


JONATHAN SKOGMO [36] – LA
FOUNDER AND CEO
JUKIN MEDIA

About: I grew the company to more than 175 employees with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, and New Delhi. I produced more than 200 hours of linear TV programming for networks such as Fox, MTV, Discovery, TruTV, and Channel 5 (UK).
Company: The world’s first media company powered entirely by user-generated video content, Jukin Media owns and operates various entertainment brands that can be found on places like YouTube, Facebook, and  Pluto TV, an Internet TV service. It provides licensing and clearance services to networks and production companies and rights management services for video-clip owners, and sells videos in the categories of wins, cute, newsworthy, fails, animals, humor, and cool stuff online. It also provides custom video content feeds for digital publishers, and offers its products through a distribution network, which includes premiere networks, digital publishers, broadcasters, brands, and platforms that license its videos.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: BA, film, Columbia College Chicago
Industry: Media
Awards: The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen 35 under 35 list, Cynopsis Digital’s It List, Multichannel News 40 under 40 list, named King of Viral Video by VideoInk, member of the Producers Guild of America (co-chair of the Online Video Committee), Young Presidents’ Organization (Malibu Chapter), the Association of Media Content Users and Providers, 2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.
Notable Projects: Founding Jukin Media and growing it into a 175-person company with offices in three countries; executive producing TV shows for Fox, MTV, the UK’s Channel 5, and others.
Advice: Never give up. Never give up. Never ever give up.
Success: Ultimately, success comes from working with people you love and admire, and I’m fortunate enough to work with 175 incredible people every day. I make sure those people are safe and secure, and can remain passionate about the business and their roles.
Mentors: Peter Guber (also a Jukin Media investor).
Local companies you admire: Beautycon and Pocket.watch.
First job: Newspaper boy at age 11.
Guilty pleasure: Deep-dish Chicago pizza.
In the morning: I don’t respond to emails, and I make myself a cup of coffee.
Before bed: Read books, articles, etc.
What keeps you up: Making sure the workforce is taken care of on a daily basis.
Year ahead: I’m happy to say I recently completed my biggest goal of the year—to marry the love of my life in the company of the people I care about most.


DANNY WAX [32] – LA
CEO
FORELINX

About: I am a former professional golfer turned entrepreneur. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and have always dreamed of owning and operating a business that forever changes an industry.
Company: Forelinx is the best way to play fantasy golf and book tee times. The Forelinx points system was built to provide golfers with a convenient and flexible way to play a variety of courses while saving time and money. Our new fantasy golf platform has created a user-engagement cycle that does not currently exist within the golf industry. Forelinx members can bet their Forelinx points and cash out their winnings for rounds of golf, trips, products, and more. Our mission is to help people watch and play more golf.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: Business administration, University of Denver.
Industry: Sports
Awards: To date, most of my awards have been golf related but I’m working on changing that.
Notable projects: Lucid Appeal, Spreadsheets App, HIPE Media.
Advice: Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Success: Success is always remembering to balance work with passion.
Mentors: My dad, Marshall Wax (entrepreneur and investor), Art Antin (COO, VCA) and Miles Rogers (chief strategy officer, Wheels Up).
Local companies you admire: Peloton for its ability to create community through technology; Golden Road Brewing for picking a local market and dominating it; Square for empowering small-business owners.
First job: Working at a local skate shop.
Guilty pleasure: Frozen York Peppermint Patties.
In the morning: Check email and Slack.
Before bed: Spend time with my son (Weston) and wife (Toni). I try my best to unplug from technology before bed.
What keeps you up: A snoring English bulldog.
Year ahead: Close a round of funding to accelerate the growth of Forelinx’s new fantasy golf product. We’ve been a self-funded business to date and an injection of capital from a strategic partner would allow Forelinx to grow from a regional business to a nationwide business.