Aaron Hirschhorn, a well-known investor and entrepreneur in the Los Angeles tech scene who founded the pet sitting startup DogVacay died Sunday in a boating accident near Miami Beach, Fla. He was 42.
Hirschhorn started DogVacay with his wife Karine Nissim in 2012. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company raised nearly $50 million and was a leading competitor in the pet services industry before being acquired by Rover in 2017.
Hirschhorn moved from Los Angeles to Miami Beach about three years ago, according to the Miami Herald.
"All of us at Rover were saddened to learn of Aaron's sudden passing. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues during this painful time," Rover said in a statement provided to GeekWire on Wednesday. "His love of animals and commitment to pet parents was exemplified in his founding and leadership of DogVacay and Gallant, but his vision for what was possible in the pet industry went well beyond what he already had accomplished."
In 2018 Hirschhorn founded another pet-focused startup called Gallant, which stores dog stem cells so that they're accessible for future treatments.
The Miami Herald reported that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard reported a crash on Sunday between a 38-foot Chris-Craft motorboat and a personal watercraft.
Hirschhorn was reportedly riding his electric foil surfboard and died at the scene. In an Instagram post on Monday, his wife wrote: "My beloved husband of ten years died yesterday in an accident. We are broken and will never be the same."
Hirschhorn's Instagram shows numerous family images and scenes from his active lifestyle. "I play sports and get hurt a lot," his profile description reads.
The photo feed also illustrates his love for dogs.
After the Rover acquisition, Hirschhorn called the growing of DogVacay "an incredible journey."
"Our goal has always been to make quality pet care accessible to everyone, and with Rover and DogVacay's experience and expertise, we will continue to create the best solution for our host community, our pet parents and most importantly, our pets that we love as family," he said at the time.
According to the Gallant website, Hirschhorn founded that company "after experiencing the power of regenerative medicine for himself" when he underwent a single stem cell treatment "to heal a debilitating back injury."
Hirschhorn pitched Gallant in a 2019 episode of the ABC TV series "Shark Tank" and snagged an investment from Lori Greiner and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe.
The Miami Herald reported that Hirschhorn is survived by his wife and their three young children: a daughter in kindergarten, a son in first grade and a son in second grade.
Little more than a month after a much-hyped entry into big-budget video games, Amazon is pulling back "Crucible," its new free-to-play PC shooter, and moving the title to closed beta.
"Crucible" is developed by Amazon-owned Relentless Studios, and in a blog post on Tuesday, franchise lead Colin Johanson cited the need to "focus on providing the best possible experience for our players as we continue to make the game better."
The game has failed to generate much positive traction. The Verge said "lackluster characters, combat, and art style made it largely forgettable" and that "Crucible" also suffered from "a bit of an identity crisis by trying to be a bit of everything at once."
According to Business Insider, "Crucible" had around 25,000 concurrent players at peak, the day after its launch. Two days after launch, it had already disappeared from Steam's top 100 — a list of most-played games on Steam that bottoms out around 5,000 concurrent players.
Players who have downloaded the game will still be able to play it through Steam.
"One of the biggest changes you'll see is that we're going to schedule dedicated time each week when we as devs will be playing with the community and soliciting feedback," Johanson wrote. "When we exit beta, it will be based on your feedback and the metrics that we see in-game."
The game was a litmus test of sorts for Amazon Game Studios as it looks to be a bigger player in the lucrative and crowded video game industry. Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 for nearly $1 billion and established the games division eight years ago, but hasn't launched many original titles and ran into several hiccups with canceled projects and layoffs.
The National Football League and Amazon reached a multi-year agreement to renew their exclusive partnership, which brings 11 games broadcast by FOX on television to an audience watching on Prime Video and Twitch across a variety of sites, apps and devices.
Amazon said that makes the games available to 150 million paid Prime members in over 200 countries. The company took over streaming rights for "TNF" from Twitter in 2017.
The new deal brings with it the right to exclusively stream one regular season game globally on Prime Video and Twitch. That game will be played on a Saturday in the second half of the 2020 regular season — and will still be televised in the participating teams' home markets.
"As our relationship has expanded, Amazon has become a trusted and valued partner of the NFL," Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL, said in a news release. "Extending this partnership around 'Thursday Night Football' continues our critical mission of delivering NFL games to as many fans in as many ways as possible both in the United States and around the world."
Amazon's version of "TNF" on Prime Video and Twitch brings with it some unique interactive viewing features, such as X-Ray and Next Gen Stats powered by Amazon Web Services, which are intended to bring fans closer to the game.
AWS is the official cloud and machine learning provider for the Next Gen Stats platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play. AWS also helped power the recent — and entirely remote — NFL Draft.
Members watching on Prime can choose to watch the FOX broadcast, the FOX Deportes Spanish language coverage, and multiple other audio options.
"We know Prime members and the Twitch community around the world love the NFL, and we remain committed to giving them the best and most customizable streaming experience possible, with a broad selection of premium content available at their fingertips," said Marie Donoghue, vice president of Global Sports Video at Amazon.
The average audience for "TNF" in 2019 was 15.4 million viewers. Digital streaming across Prime Video, Twitch, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital and Verizon Media mobile properties surpassed an average minute audience of over 1 million — up 43 percent from 2018.
The NFL streaming deal is part of Amazon's growing video arm that includes the company's Prime video library; its Amazon Studios production unit; and other sports-related live streaming deals.
Season five of the Amazon Original documentary series "All or Nothing," produced by NFL Films, premiered in February with "All or Nothing: The Philadelphia Eagles," exclusively on Prime Video.
This story first appeared on GeekWire.