Many years ago, Ryan Kavanaugh felt most concerned about money and his social circle. He wanted to look impressive and for people to notice him. He now talks about how easy it was to become caught up in that life, even though it turns out to be not the life he wanted for himself after all. Now he wonders what it was about his old life he thought was so important at the time.
Kavanaugh feels he has learned many lessons the hard way, but he remains grateful for them. If he had not gone through challenges and failures in the past, he would not be heading up the world’s second most popular video-sharing social media application today.
Business Failure and Struggles in His Personal Life Could Not Keep Ryan Kavanaugh Down
The trouble started for Kavanaugh in 2016 when he had no choice but to shut down his business, Relativity Media. He did everything he could to keep it viable but had little cooperation from business partners and lenders. Spending $100 million in capital in two years forced him to file bankruptcy on behalf of Relativity Media twice. He dealt with multiple health challenges and a divorce in the same timeframe. People would not have blamed him for calling it quits, but that option is just not in Kavanaugh’s nature.
Opportunity Presents Itself in the Form of a Video-Sharing App in Need of Direction
Ryan Kavanaugh helped to co-found Triller several years ago but remained a minority shareholder due to his other business commitments. After closing Relativity Media in 2016 and being on the losing end of a few more business deals since that time, Kavanaugh decided to become a majority shareholder of Triller in 2019. The company had a value of $130 million at that time.
Kavanaugh immediately got to work making Triller a more attractive platform for users and influencers. Triller quickly became serious competition for TikTok, the world’s largest platform for video-sharing. He recruited performers with high name recognition to record videos for the app, which led to more users signing up and additional performers and influencers inquiring about coming on board.
The popularity of Triller really exploded when President Donald Trump threatened to shut down TikTok over privacy concerns in July 2020, causing millions of people to run to Triller in a panic. Fortunately, they liked what they saw and invited their friends to enjoy Triller with them. Thanks to Trump unknowingly highlighting alternatives to TikTok, Kavanaugh’s personal investment of $28 million, and signing on new performers and influencers, the company’s valuation reached $1.25 billion by early 2021.
Kavanaugh’s next major shake-up at Triller was to introduce the Triller Fight Club. For $49.99, users can download live boxing matches featuring big names like Mike Tyson. They also get access to additional entertainment, including several smaller boxing matches and live musical performances. After broadcasting fights in November 2020 and April 2021 that drew up to 30 million viewers, Kavanaugh knew he had discovered a successful formula. He intends to broadcast boxing matches mixed with live entertainment at least six times a year.