Shear, along with Justin Kan, applied to the first class of Y Combinator when they were seniors in 2005 . As part of Y Combinator, the two built a calendar application called Kiko, which they eventually sold on eBay for $250,000 after Google Calendar was introduced.
In 2006, Shear and Justin Kan, along with Michael Seibel and Kyle Vogt, started Justin.tv, a 24/7 live video feed of Kan's life, broadcast via a webcam attached to his head.
After Justin.tv launched in 2007, the site quickly began building subject-specific content categories like Social, Tech, Sports, Entertainment, News & Events, and Gaming. Gaming, in particular, grew very fast and became the most popular content on the site.
Kan's "lifecasting" lasted about eight months until the four partners decided to transition to providing a live video platform so anyone could publish a live video stream. Launched in 2007, Justin.tv was one of the largest live video platforms in the world with more than 30 million unique users every month until it was shut down on August 5, 2014.
Emmett Shear (born 1983) is an American Internet entrepreneur and investor. He is the co-founder of live video platform Justin.tv. He served as the chief executive officer of Twitch when it was spun off from Justin.tv until March 2023. In 2011, Shear was appointed as a part-time partner at venture capital firm Y Combinator. In November 2023, he briefly served as interim CEO of OpenAI.
In June 2011, the company decided to spin off the gaming content under a separate brand and site. They named it TwitchTV, inspired by the term twitch gameplay. On August 29, 2011, Shear became CEO of Justin.tv, and remained in that role as the company rebranded around Twitch in 2014, which had quickly became its core product.
Shear became a part-time partner at Y Combinator in June 2011, where he offered advice to the new startups in each batch.
On August 25, 2014, Amazon officially acquired Twitch for a reported $970,000,000.
In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, via Twitch, Shear donated the initial US$1 million to start a SF New Deal, a non-profit organization which ordered meals from San Francisco eateries and delivered them to people in need. The organization was started by his Yale college classmate Leonore Estrada, who owned the Three Babes Bakeshop in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood.
In March 2023, Shear announced that he was resigning as CEO, and that Daniel J. Clancy would take over.
On November 19, 2023, Shear was named as the interim CEO of OpenAI, following the removal of Sam Altman by the board two days earlier. On November 21, an agreement was reached to reinstate Altman as CEO. It was previously reported that Shear had threatened to resign as CEO if the board could not provide evidence to support Altman's removal.