Emily Best: Founder & CEO, Seed&Spark

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Bio:

Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, an entertainment platform built to increase diversity and inclusion for filmmakers and audiences. Seed&Spark’s curated streaming platform is fed by its crowdfunding platform, which has the highest campaign success rate in the world. In 2011, she produced the feature film, Like the Water, starring Caitlin FitzGerald (Masters of Sex, UnREAL). Since then she has served as executive producer on a host of film and virtual reality projects that have played at festivals from Sundance to SXSW to Tribeca and beyond. Most recently she co-created and co-directed the web series F*ck Yes!, which Refinery 29 called, "The sex education you wish you had in high school." Emily was named a 2013 Indiewire Influencer, a 2014 New York Woman of Influence, was included on the 2015 Upstart 100 list, and graduated from the 2016 class of Techstars Boston. She has raised millions of dollars in traditional funding, equity crowdfunding, and rewards based crowdfunding, and contributed to over 300 crowdfunding campaigns to date.

What do I do best?

Connect people. It’s also my favorite thing to do. Because I travel so much for work I have amazing opportunities to meet so many people, and I’m constantly connecting them when I can see there’s synergy in their work.

What makes me the best version of myself?

Surrounding myself with people who are honest with me.

Eating really good food and getting enough sleep. (I’m good at the former, not so much at the latter.)

What are my aspirations?

To make the world a more equitable place. That’s the work I’m committed to for my time on this planet.

My Biggest Success?

I started a company that has been around for 5 years and every day of those 5 years I have gone to work with people I love.

I started a family with my husband Brennan and it means that every day I come home to very silly people I love to be around also.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I got married really young. Got a corporate job, bought a house. At some point I realized I was doing all of these things because this was the path I was told was the path. But it wasn’t the path for me. When I was 27, I got divorced, sold my house, and moved to New York to figure out what the path was for me.

My Motto?

This one comes from my dad: when things are difficult, just do the next right thing right.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My cousin Charles Best, founder of Donorschoose.org. He is a constant source of inspiration and great advice in entrepreneurship, growing a company, and doing great things in the world. He becomes excellent at whatever he sets his mind to.

Janicza Bravo (filmmaker). She works incredibly hard, has incredibly high standards for excellence, and also lives out loud with her artistic voice as a person and an activist. (She’s so, so fun to follow on Instagram, BTW.)

Robyn Ward from FounderForward. I can remember the first time I met her I was DYING to impress her, and I can remember the moment it happened. She turned the corners of her mouth down ever so slightly as if to say, “Ok, she’s for real.” And ever since then has been an incredible mentor, advisor, and friend.

David Williams from Care3. I met him at a party at SXSW in 2013 and told him about what we were doing at Seed&Spark. He has since become the single most valuable business-building mentor I could ever have imagined. He is so generous with his time and experience, he builds companies that really matter, and he is a devoted husband and father – he makes me feel like it’s really possible to have a rich business and family balance.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I lived in Barcelona for a number of years and it’s still one of my favorite cities in the world.

My grandfather built a thin-walled summer cabin really far north on the downeast coast of Maine about 100 years ago, and it’s still my favorite place in the world to visit (even though it’s still pretty hard to get there).

HOME. I LOVE BEING AT HOME.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

This is from left field, but the Bassinest swivel sleeper. We got it when my son was about 2 weeks old and honestly I have never loved or talked about a product so much, ever.

AND MY INSTANT POT. Good god. What a game changer. I love to cook, but because of work and momming I don’t always get to do the kind of cooking I love to. And that thing makes it possible for me to make things like Carnitas or Cuban black beans in an hour that I would never have time to make any other way.

My Current Passions?

Pushing for data transparency in the entertainment business, because I believe that’s the big road block to equity, diversity, inclusion.

Cooking and food, always.

Hanging out with my toddler.

I do still love to make movies, so I am producing a feature doc, a feature narrative, and we just released the second season of Fck Yes, a webseries about sexual consent I co-created with an incredible group of women.

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