People/Biz

Tony Hsieh, former Zappos CEO and XTR backer, passes away

Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Las Vegas-based online shoe retailer Zappos, died Friday (Nov. 27) at the age of 46. Hsieh died as a result of injuries he sustained in ...
November 30, 2020

Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Las Vegas-based online shoe retailer Zappos, died Friday (Nov. 27) at the age of 46.

Hsieh died as a result of injuries he sustained in a house fire on Nov. 18 while visiting family in New London, Connecticut, according to the New York Times.

Hsieh rose to prominence at 23 years of age after co-founding the online advertising company LinkExchange in 1996, which sold two years later to Microsoft Corp. for US$265 million. In 1999, the venture capitalist invested in retail shoe start-up ShoeSite.com, eventually rebranding the company to Zappos and becoming its CEO. Amazon. com Inc. would go on to purchase Zappos in 2009 for more than $1 billion.

During his tenure at Zappos, Hsieh aimed to transform Las Vegas’ neglected downtown core with the launch of the “Downtown Project”, which invested in technology start-ups that agreed to relocate to the Nevada city.

Hsieh stepped down as Zappos’ chief executive in August after 21 years with the company.

In October, Hsieh provided Bryn Mooser’s XTR with a $17.5 million cash injection to support the premium non-fiction film and television studio’s production slate and upcoming projects. He additionally joined XTR as a partner in its nascent streaming service Documentary Plus+.

XTR’s Mooser paid tribute to Hsieh with a post on social media platform Instagram, stating: “We lost our friend Tony Hsieh and the world lost one of its kindest, most beautiful and brilliant souls. Tony taught me to always dream bigger and reach higher. Hold your loved ones closer. Life is so precious.”

The funds Hsieh provided to XTR will be used to finish films that are currently in production and scheduled to be released in 2021, with additional underwriting of future original documentaries.

XTR’s previous releases include Netflix’s Mucho Mucho Amor, Magnolia’s ACLU feature The Fight, Neon’s You Cannot Kill David Arquette and PBS’s Feels Good Man.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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