M17 Co-founder Joseph Phua Steps Down As CEO To Be Replaced By Hirofumi Ono

Joseph Phua, Co-founder and CEO of M17 Entertainment Limited, the operator of Japan’s leading live streaming platform 17LIVE, will step down as the Group CEO and assume the role of non-executive Chairman, while Hirofumi Ono, previously the CEO of M17 Media Japan, will replace him, according to a press release and blog post by Phua yesterday.

The leadership transition was in the works for over a year, and the decision was taken after much deliberation with Ono and the shareholders, and a close observation of Ono’s leadership skills and capabilities, Phua wrote in his blog post.

Phua founded dating app Paktor in 2013, which acquired a controlling stake in livestreaming platform 17 Media in December 2016 and Phua took over as the CEO of 17 Media. In April next year, the 2 companies merged to create a new company, M17 Entertainment, with shares from both Paktor and M17.

In May this year, M17 Entertainment sold Paktor and its dating assets to Kollective Ventures, for an undisclosed amount to focus on the livestreaming market in Asia and other markets.

“M17 is my blood and soul, a place I built over the years with the time and energy I squeezed through sacrifices, so to be able to step so comfortably into a role I consider of utmost importance, speaks volumes about Hiro,” Phua wrote in his post.

Phua met Ono in 2017 when he was looking for potential partners to expand M17 into Japan, which is now 17LIVE’s largest market. Prior to joining M17, Ono was was part of the founding team of CyberAgent Mobile, later went on to found Infinity Ventures in 2008, Groupon Japan in 2010, and Jimoty in 2011.

In the press release, Phua said, “Hiro built our Japan business from scratch in 2017. Japan is now our largest revenue contributor while M17 is by far the dominant live streaming player in the market. I am looking forward to M17’s continued growth, both in Japan and internationally, under Hiro’s leadership.”

Phua will continue to spend time working with the management team through his new role, and will prioritize spending time with his family, he wrote.

M17 has expanded from its beginnings in Taiwan to now include Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, India, the United States and the Middle East.

The company now has a suite of interactive platforms including its flagship app 17LIVE, dubbed Livit in English speaking markets, artist agency Unicorn Entertainment, Wave, which features talented voices without revealing faces, livestreaming shopping platforms HandsUP and FBBuy, and Asia Pacific-focused livestreaming platform Meme Live.

Under Phua’s leadership, the Group had raised a total of over $160 million in capital financing between Paktor and M17, including its latest fundraise of $26.5 million in May. In 2018, the company had filed for an Initial Public Offering at the New York Stock Exchange, only to abort the plan later.

As of August 2020, M17 claims to have over 54 million registered users, while Phua’s post said the company has over 30,000 content creators who produce over 500,000 hours of content every month.

The company generated less than $1.07 billion in revenue for FY2017, according to its SEC filing, while it grew 70% between May of 2018 and 2019, and achieved profitability.

Ono said, “I always strongly believed that the future of the live streaming industry would be an exciting one. In the past three years, under Joseph’s strong leadership, M17 has established itself as the No.1 live streaming platform in Japan, across much of Asia and continues to expand its business globally.”

“We live today in an exciting time thanks to technologies that make live communications possible. Our company’s mission statement of ‘Empower Artists, Entertain the World’ reflects our determination to use these technologies to provide a world-wide stage to our users so they are both empowered and entertained,” he added.

Header Image courtesy of M17 Entertainment

In picture: M17’s new CEO Hirofumi Ono

SHARE THIS STORY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

RELATED POSTS

Is Using AI for Academic Writing Cheating?

Is Using AI for Academic Writing Cheating?

From films written and directed by ChatGPT to Kindle authors writing books with artificial intelligence (AI), we are seeing more and more reportage on AI writing tools these days. While writing with an AI may seem harmless and possibly helps improve work efficiency, the use of these tools in the sphere of academic writing has generated serious concern. Teachers are worried that the use of AI writing tools is equivalent to plagiarism or cheating.

7 Creative Ways to Reward Employees without a Salary Raise

7 Creative Ways to Reward Employees without a Salary Raise

Giving your employees a raise is a significant way to show your employees that you value their work and compensate them appropriately for their contributions. Failing to acknowledge the work of your employees can be ‌costly for startups. A OnePoll survey of 2,000 workers found that almost half of ‌American workers (46%) have quit a job due to feeling unrecognized

The Pros and Cons of Human Cloning

The Pros and Cons of Human Cloning

Clones, human or otherwise, are genetically identical copies of a living organism produced artificially in a laboratory. Over the years, many animals have been cloned. Starting from the cloning of a tadpole in 1952 to the cloning of a sheep named Dolly from adult mammal cells in 1996, cloning has come a long way.

Reform of Hong Kong's Offshore Tax System

Reform of Hong Kong’s Offshore Tax System

Further to the introduction of the proposed Hong Kong’s new Foreign-Source Income Exemption (FSIE) regime as discussed in our article A Challenge to Hong Kong’s Long-Established Offshore Tax System in October 2022, the relevant legislation has been enacted and became effective on January 1, 2023.

Mark Cuban’s Tips on How to Get Rich

Mark Cuban’s Tips on How to Get Rich

A popular adage suggests, money makes the world go round. People are always looking to do better financially so that their lives can be more secure. To make that happen, some seek out the advice of millionaires—the ones who have been there, done that.

What India's EdTech Industry Must Prioritize in 2023?

What India’s EdTech Industry Must Prioritize in 2023?

2022 was a tough year for the majority of education technology (EdTech) in India, with the “Tracxn Geo Annual Report: India Tech 2022” reporting a 39 per cent decrease in funding during the January-November period compared to 2021. To overcome this, many businesses, including industry-leading players like BYJU’S, Unacademy and Vedantu, had to resort to job cuts.