LA Venture: Acrew’s Richard Wolpert on Entertainment Tech’s Problems (And How to Fix Them)

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
​Acrew Capital’s Richard Wolpert
Courtesy of Richard Wolpert

On this episode of LA Venture, Acrew Capital's Richard Wolpert discusses the future of the entertainment industry, the metaverse and why social media needs to be fixed.

Wolpert saw the rise of the first online music service back in 2003, when it was impossible to sell the idea of streaming to consumers. Almost 20 years later, everything has flipped as video and music have fully embraced streaming.

"Disney Plus was supposed to get to 100 million subscribers in five years. That was the plan before COVID. And they launched just as COVID was happening and they got to 100 million subscribers that year," said Wolpert.

But Wolpert sees a mess of content across these streaming services, and now subscribing to them all costs just as much as cable. There’s an opportunity, he said, to make that better for the consumer by creating a unified guide with dashboard recommendations from the services you subscribe to.

Wolpert also sees a mess, as well as massive opportunity, in the developing creator economy. Two years ago, he said, everyone was excited about AI. Two years before that it was VR. Today, the buzzwords are around crypto, the metaverse and NFTs.

Wolpert said a true metaverse experience existed as early as 2003 in the virtual reality gaming world "Second Life." Companies are now going all-in on the same concept – and if enough people go with them, it could change how we think about virtual worlds, he added.

"If enough people are putting enough money into it and really digging into it. They force the timing to happen," said Wolpert.

Wolpert also discussed his belief that tech companies should shoulder more responsibility for the effects their products have on the world. He pointed to recent studies that show some social sites can leave users feeling inadequate and spread misinformation.

"I know people that were early at Facebook who say, ‘I really want it fixed, because I don't want my legacy to be the thing that was so bad for the social environment’,” he said.

dot.LA Engagement Intern Joshua Letona contributed to this post.

Hear the full episode by clicking on the playhead above, and listen to LA Venture on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

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