In 2006, Brady Forrest held the first of what would be many Ignite events held around the world. At its peak, more than 360 cities hosted events, in which speakers had five minutes and 20 slides to present their ideas — something that has become quite popular within the technology scene. But six years later, Forrest took a step back and left the Ignite series in the hands of O’Reilly Media, but the community remained somewhat scattered — it needed a centralized place.
This is all changing today, however, following Forrest’s acquisition of the Ignite brand from O’Reilly Media. Financial terms of the deal were not shared, but the intention is to galvanize the community into working together to create something great. The new series will operate under Ignite Talks PBC, a Public Benefit Corporation that will support the organization’s mission. Forrest will serve as the chief executive, while also running Highway1’s hardware accelerator.
If you’re not familiar with Ignite, the organization facilitates a series of rapid-fire presentations on the speaker’s topic of choice, with slides advancing automatically every 15 seconds. The first event happened in Seattle, Washington and has since expanded to other cities in the U.S. including Minneapolis, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado; Winnipeg, Alaska; and San Francisco, California; as well as cities around the world.
While Ignite is no longer a part of O’Reilly Media, Forrest told VentureBeat that the publishing company will continue to partner with Ignite and that “everyone is very happy with the arrangement.” In addition, PCH International, Highway1’s parent company, will also be sponsoring Forrest’s new company.
With this move, Ignite will be evolving into something more than just a speaker series. Forrest has already launched a website that features some of the best talks, and he has a team working to build a curriculum around public speaking. New worldwide Ignite events are also being planned.
It’s worth noting that as a Public Benefit Corporation, Ignite Talks PBC is not about profit — it’s looking to have a positive impact on society. In pursuing a greater good, the company is following in the footsteps of other firms like Kickstarter, Etsy, Warby Parker, and Patagonia. “We believe that public speaking creates better communication,” Forrest wrote.
Forrest hopes that by taking back the reins of his organization, he and his team will be able to supply the focus that has been missing and give Ignite the fuel it needs to continue with its mission.
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