Paul O’Brien is the CEO and founder of MediaTech Ventures, a media innovation holding company and venture development group with offices in Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, and New York. The group was founded with the support of Randy Blankenship in 2014 and later launched by co-founders and supporters such as Jennifer Gooding, Ted Cohen, Kristine Bryant, Kevin Chin, and John Zozzaro. O’Brien is an early to mid stage startup and venture capital advisor, founder of the media incubator Collective, and Founder Institute incubator Director.
During his time in Austin, TX, O’Brien has served on the Boards of the diversity incubator DivInc, FUNDConference, and the International Accelerator, and he invests his time as a mentor at SXSW, at the University of Texas’ Moody School of Communication, in Galvanize, Bunker Labs, and at the Austin Technology Incubator and innovation group, IC2.
O’Brien was born and raised in Michigan and started his professional career media, after a brief stint out of college in inside sales with Insight, as a Sales Engineer with Yahoo!. He’s a graduate of Arizona State University’s WP Carey School of Business and talks of his early work in radio and website development as inspirations of his work in MediaTech. In 1992, his first work online, in school, was a music history site called The Octopus’s Garden; O’Brien tells the story of how an article about The Beatles caught the attention of and an email from legendary Beatles’ producer George Martin.
His work at Yahoo! experienced many of the early innovations in online advertising and streaming media. Primarily employed in eCommerce with Yahoo! Shopping, his time at Yahoo would carry him to work with HP Shopping, but not after developing with Yahoo many of the early forms of interactive advertising and online media integrations with companies such as Sony, Dell, and Best Buy.
In 2008, Paul O’Brien was profiled by business thought leader Michael Miller for his book, Online Marketing Heroes (Wiley; March 10, 2008).1 He has been featured in Forbes2, TechCrunch, the Austin Business Journal3, Business Insider4 Internet Retailer Magazine, KGO Radio, SXSW, and Webmaster Radio, and has spoken at SXSW, FUND Conference, Shop.org, Search Insider Summit, Affiliate Summit, and National Small Business Week.
“Artists and producers in the creative class of our economy are directly impacted by known and relevant innovations such as Spotify, Amazon Prime or Instagram. But this question reflects a much more fundamental fact of our industry: the internet forever changed HOW everything works. Quite simply, you are a part of that shift or you are left behind. A capable website is fairly easily built and optimized, at nearly no cost, today. A keyboard and internet connection gave everyone a voice that can reach everyone in the world, when you appreciate how social media and search engines work,” he shared with Wallifornia. “Learning how that all works and how to leverage it means the difference between still playing gigs at your local bar versus producing your own album and going on tour under your own volition.”5
From an early career at Yahoo! and HP. O’Brien led the early growth of startups such as Outright.com (Acquired by GoDaddy), Zvents (Acquired by eBay’s Stubhub), and MicroVentures (Venture Capital). He continues to blog seobrien.com.6
What Links Here
- Amazon: Online Marketing Heroes↩︎
- Forbes, Cherie Hu: What it takes to build a music tech city↩︎
- Austin Business Journal, Michael Cronin: Why Paul O’Brien is on a mission to make Austin the Hollywood of media-tech↩︎
- Business Insider: Northwest Austin has historically been the Texas city’s ‘Silicon Valley,’ and tech’s biggest players are still pouring in↩︎
- Wallifornia MusicTech: Questions to Paul O’Brien, CEO of Mediatech Ventures↩︎
- Paul O’Brien self published bio↩︎