Why Moviepass' Co-Founder is Starting a Venture Studio for Human Performance
Hamet Watt, co-founder and former chairman of MoviePass and a board partner at Upfront Ventures, quietly launched a new venture studio, Share Ventures, earlier this year in Playa Vista with $10 million in funding. Now he is ready to share details, including plans to launch several companies a year – all focused on human performance, or what is usually referred to as wellness.
"We like to use human performance because it expands the definition," Watt told dot.LA. "It's not just things like yoga. It's sports tech, behavior science and human optimization."
Unlike a traditional VC firm that invests in other founders, a venture studio starts companies of its own. The small team at Share includes academics, scientists, and engineers, and counts IdeaLab's Bill Gross and former Nike president Trevor Edwards as advisors. Funding comes from Upfront, Alpha Edison, John Callaghan and Phil Black of True Ventures, Ahmed Al Mosa of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Art Coppola, former CEO of Macerich.
Watt says he has long been drawn to human performance because he sees a lot of untapped opportunities, which have only increased with Covid-19.
"In this post-Covid world a light is shining more brightly on all these things that need to be reimagined," Watt said. "There are opportunities in mental health that are much more acute than they've ever been."
Los Angeles has enjoyed a longstanding reputation as a place where wellness is prized and lately that has been reflected in startups like Headspace and FitOn that provide on-demand meditation and fitness classes. "There is a tribe in this L.A. community that is passionate about health and wellness," he said.
Watt says he is the only Black person he knows of running a venture studio and he says by virtue of his diverse network he can tap into talent others may have overlooked.
"You can't make money doing the same thing everyone else does," said Watt. "You can't fish in the same talent pond that everyone else does."
Watt co-founded MoviePass in 2011 and departed in the beginning of 2018, before the company flamed out in the fall of 2019. "I exited before the really crazy drama," he said.
The company, which offered unlimited trips to the movie theater, delighted consumers and terrified theater owners. Watt says he is now looking for similar all-you-can pricing plans that can work in wellness.
"I think some of the experience I've had with subscription models can apply to areas in interesting ways," Watt said. "Consumers love an unlimited value proposition."
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