Crosscut’s Brett Brewer on the Birth of Myspace and the Importance of Education

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+ Shift.com, 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.
​Crosscut’s Brett Brewer.
Courtesy of Brett Brewer.

In 1996, when the internet was in its infancy, Brett Brewer and a couple of college buddies decided to start a company from their pad in Manhattan Beach.

What became Intermix Media—which would later give birth to the original social network, Myspace—initially started off as an ecommerce business called Entertainment Universe that sold movies, music and games. It took 18 months for Brewer and his partners to get the venture off the ground and raise any sort of capital; by April 1999, the company went public, just before the dot-com bubble burst.


“What [the dot-com bubble] did, interestingly, is it took most of the well-funded competitors that were losing tons of money and it either put them out of business immediately or put them out of business slowly,” Brewer told Minnie Ingersoll on this week’s episode of the LA Venture podcast. “We had so little capital anyway; we always had to look at it like, ‘We actually need to make money.’”

In 2000, with the dot-com scene in pieces, Brewer and his partners sold off the ecommerce site and began experimenting with low-cost content sites. As well as early forays into online dating and an embrace of performance-based advertising, Intermix also began experimenting with social networking with the help of employees—and soon-to-be Myspace founders—Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe.

“I feel like it was yesterday,” Brewer recalled. “[Anderson and DeWolfe] came up with a bunch of good ideas we whiteboarded out. And one of them was to… build what we thought would be a version of Friendster except way cooler, and way more control for the user.”

The rest was history. Myspace became an early social media behemoth, initially going toe-to-toe with Facebook and luring more than 100 million users; Brewer recalled that the average user would visit the site six-to-eight times a day and view anywhere from 10-to-15 pages. Intermix and Myspace were eventually sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for $580 million in 2005.

“It really was a roller coaster ride that ended on a high note,” Brewer noted. “I was very happy for Los Angeles. I was very happy for everyone that works in Intermix. We had a lot of amazing people over all those years, put blood, sweat and tears into the entity and had that kind of happy conclusion.”

In his post-entrepreneur life, Brewer entered the world of venture capital investing and launched Santa Monica VC firm Crosscut Ventures. Outside of work, he has a particular passion for education; in the wake of the pandemic, Brewer launched LA Tech Cares, which provides underserved students with tech and academic resources as well as mental health services.

“I've always been a believer in education and this concept that equality in education is a must,” he said. “I think it's sort of the number one thing that, as a society, we need to be delivering.”

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.

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

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: Saviynt Gains New CEO, The FIFTH Taps Agency Veteran to Lead Creative Team

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Saviynt Gains New CEO, The FIFTH Taps Agency Veteran to Lead Creative Team
LA Tech ‘Moves’:

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

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samsonamore@dot.la

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

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