We are pleased to welcome our new Board Member, Mika Salmi!
Mika is a Senior Advisor at The Raine Group, a unique global investment and advisory firm focused on the media, entertainment and sports industries. He also advises numerous startup companies and serves on the boards of INSEAD, CreativeLive and Feed.fm.
“I am excited by the vision that the founders have for the future of VR as a medium,” said Mika. “Pixvana has built an impressive technology stack to create a new approach to storytelling. I look forward to helping the company deliver on its vision.”
“Mika is someone our team has admired since the very early days of new media, dating back to the dawn of the internet in the 90s when he founded Atom Entertainment where he and his team created many of the seminal works of interactive storytelling and gaming,” said Forest Key, CEO of Pixvana. “As a board director Mika will lend his wealth of industry experience to help us prioritize our investments and then scale our solution to the media industry.”
Mika Salmi is a serial entrepreneur and pioneer in technology and media. Currently, he is a Senior Advisor at The Raine Group where he advises on venture and growth investments, sources M&A and financing deals, and generally brings an entrepreneurial and operational skillset to the firm. Raine is a unique investment and advisory firm focused on the global media, entertainment and sports industries.
Prior to Raine, Mika served as CEO of CreativeLive. CreativeLive is transforming the $100 billion continuing education market by offering frictionless access to the best teachers in the world through a social video platform. Under his leadership, the company grew from 8 to 120 employees, revenues increased over 600% and the company raised over $40m from Greylock Partners, Social+Capital Partnership, Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor, Richard Branson and other top tier investors.
Before CreativeLive, Salmi founded and was CEO of a GPS and mobile app company called Mad Race that was sold to Betaworks. After the sale, he worked with Betaworks on further developing the product.
And prior to that Salmi was President of Global Digital Media for MTV Networks/Viacom, where he oversaw more than 1500 employees in 60 countries and worked across MTVN’s many brands, including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, and 30 others. Upon joining Viacom, Salmi correctly predicted the trends of online fragmentation, growth in mobile, and the integration of traditional media with digital —helping Viacom more than quadruple its digital revenues to over $1bn.
Salmi was formerly CEO and Founder of Atom Entertainment, which sold to Viacom for US$200 million in 2006. In 1998 Salmi established the company’s first brand, AtomFilms, having recognized the promise of short-form content and the use of new digital platforms for its distribution. Atom Films is seen today as a pioneer in online video and was one of the first user- generated video sites – years before the advent of YouTube. AtomFilms merged with Shockwave.com, the Internet’s first casual games company, in 2000. Later renamed Atom Entertainment, the company purchased AddictingGames in 2005, which has become one of the largest casual game companies on the web.
Salmi’s success in establishing one of the world’s first online entertainment companies, Atom Entertainment, in helping transform MTV Networks into a global leader in new media and in promoting CreativeLive’s leadership in online education have earned Mika Salmi widespread recognition as a visionary in his field.
Some companies where Salmi is serving or has served on the Board of Directors include Pressplane (acquired by RealSelf), Feed.fm (formerly blip.fm), Elisa (largest telecom in Finland), Blinkbox (acquired by Tesco UK), Sulake (acquired), ImageMetrics (IPO), Shockwave KK (acquired by Transcosmos/Japan), and Propel Renewable Fuels (innovator in alternative energy distribution).
Throughout his career Salmi has been on the forefront of new developments. He started in the music business, where he discovered and signed the Grammy-awarded, multi-platinum Nine Inch Nails. In the early 1990s, he was among the first Western music executives to explore opportunities in post-communist Eastern Europe for EMI Music. Later, at Real Networks, the inventive digital audio and video company, Salmi successfully cultivated and cemented the first relationships between an Internet company and major media players.
Regularly included in lists of industry and cultural trailblazers, Salmi has appeared in Vanity Fair, Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, Fortune, Wired and numerous international publications. He has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Newsweek, USA Today, Business Week, and several other US and foreign newspapers. Salmi has appeared on television news programs and morning talk shows, including ABC News, BBC News, CNN, CNBC, and The Today Show, and has delivered high profile keynote speeches around the world.
Mika Salmi was born in Finland, is a dual citizen of the USA and Finland and speaks Finnish, French, and English fluently, with proficiency in Spanish. He graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and earned his MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.