For my second episode of Metaverse, I welcomed media entrepreneur and investor Scott Kitun to the podcast. Scott is co-founder and chief executive of Technori, Chicago’s largest and most diverse startup, which was founded nearly a decade ago with the mission to create a community around tech and investing. Before Technori, Scott was an investor in the nation’s leading equity crowdfunding platform Republic, co-founded the company Songfinch, and spent six years as a talk show host on WGN Radio, as creator and host of ‘startup showcase’—the first-ever radio show to feature companies the audience can invest in, via crowdfunding equity.
In our conversation, we tracked how Scott’s career evolved from working in commercial real estate to the investment space. During his time as a Northwestern graduate student in 2012, Scott noted the need for financial backing in Chicago startups, inspiring the creation of Technori, which essentially started as a podcast Scott dreamt up to meet founders and influential people. We discussed the big trends he’s witnessing in the space, including “solopreneurs” and technology that’s empowering more efficient solo business marketing, as well as his belief that everything will soon be monetised and hold a digital value.
Scott believes we’re evolving from our present “Web 2.0”—which is mostly concerned with instant access—to “Web 3.0.” This third iteration encompasses not only 24-hour on-demand access, but also personalisation: we want what we want, when we want it, how we want it, made to order. In exciting projects like Cameo and Songfinch—which both landed on his Technori stage in 2017 – Scott recognised this emergent trend. Whilst social media helps people feel connected, these platforms allow actual engagement (at a price, naturally). Like the celebrity shout-out videos of Cameo, Songfinch similarly touts personalised music from musicians to fans. Scott holds that direct engagement is the future. Already, Chance the Rapper and Taylor Swift are publishing to fans directly, and movies are being released to fans directly.
Reflecting on changing attitudes towards business and entrepreneurship, Scott noted that, today, “the only thing you can do wrong is work slowly.” Unlike the past, where the initial focus was on getting investors and raising seed money before any concrete execution, today if you have an idea, the most important thing is to get it to market, engage with the public, take the consumers’ temperature and figure out how to get them on your side, crowdfunding along the way as needed. Scott also noted how, as accelerated by the pandemic, we’re seeing a rapid push forward in innovation, rapidly shifting the way we live. The virtual has replaced the in-person in so many facets of our lives.
We wrapped up our conversation by discussing Technori’s focus on diversity, which Scott thinks is essential to creating the strongest and most versatile organisations. Having 10-12 people in a room of different backgrounds will give you a far stronger answer, and will allow you to address and solve a diverse range of problems, instead of only solving the problems of “rich old white guys and nobody else.” Additionally, Scott believes diversity will help address the global economic gap: if we bring in more entrepreneurs from underserved populations, they will develop the tools to solve issues in their own communities, where they will reinvest, bringing wealth and financial well-being to a wider range of people.
It was exciting to learn Scott’s insights on the ever-changing tech scene and to trade our thoughts on what “tomorrow’s business today” truly entails. To hear more of what next big thing might be coming down the pike, listen to our full conversation here.