Ashwin Navin is an Indian-American entrepreneur, CEO, and co-founder of Samba TV. Navin was the president and co-founder of BitTorrent, Inc. He joined Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, in 2004 where he handled business and company-related matters while Cohen focused on engineering and product development.
Education and Early Career
Navin graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1999 with a dual B.A. degree in government and economics. Prior to joining BitTorrent, he gained professional experience at Yahoo! between 2002 and 2004, where he worked in corporate development. Before Yahoo!, Navin worked on Wall Street as both an investment banker and research analyst for Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. In 2000, Navin played a key role in the establishment of Epoch Partners, a technology-based financial services company that served as the investment banking division for various online stock brokerages such as Charles Schwab, Ameritrade, and TD Waterhouse.
Ashwin Navin left Yahoo! to join Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, and helped commercialize the protocol. Cohen entrusted Navin with the responsibility of crafting a business model for BitTorrent with hopes of bringing BitTorrent into the mainstream. In 2007, he launched the BitTorrent Entertainment Network in February, the BitTorrent SDK in June, and BitTorrent DNA in October. As the foundation for these products, Navin acquired uTorrent which is the largest Torrent client in the world, outside China.
"BitTorrent was never specifically designed for the purpose of stealing content, but it was specifically designed to deliver content efficiently and if we can be a distributor of content using our tools we can be more efficient than all of our competitors."
"As file sizes get richer and bigger, P2P is fundamentally the only way to deliver the content on the internet without breaking the internet itself."
"We're not trying to be a media company. We're not trying to be a retailer. We're trying to be a distributor. We're trying to be a platform for publishers to reach consumers in a very cost-effective way."
In addition to copyright challenges, BitTorrent encountered obstacles with cable companies and internet service providers (ISPs) due to the overwhelming volume of peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic on their networks. Following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hearings that showcased a contentious clash between Comcast and BitTorrent over traffic management policies restricting P2P file transfers, Navin took the responsibility of negotiating an agreement with Comcast. This resolution not only resolved the disputes between the two companies but also defused a contentious issue within the Network Neutrality debate.
After departing from BitTorrent, Navin founded Samba TV in 2008 (originally known as Flingo) with the aim of creating software specifically designed for Smart TVs. The primary objective was to assist media companies in developing TV applications that seamlessly synchronized with both linear broadcast programming and non-linear media. In 2011, Samba TV introduced its groundbreaking automatic content recognition technology, leveraging video fingerprinting to accurately identify on-screen content and empower interactive TV applications across multiple screens on Smart TVs. In 2021, Samba TV made a significant move by filing for an initial public offering (IPO), with a consortium of underwriters including BofA Securities, Evercore ISI, Oppenheimer & Co., and other notable investment banks leading the process.
Did you find this article interesting?