Ted Livingston (born 1987) is a Canadian entrepreneur and the founder of Kik Messenger, a popular mobile messaging service.
Livingston attended the Crescent School in Toronto from 1997 to 2005, where he found an education that suited his individuality and allowed him to develop his own philosophies and life directions.
In 2005, Livingston enrolled at the University of Waterloo to pursue a bachelor's degree in mechatronics, with the goal of fulfilling his dream of building robots. During his time at the university, he participated in the Waterloo co-op program, gaining valuable work experience at companies like Honda and the City of Toronto government. Eventually, he secured a co-op position as a system engineering project coordinator at Research in Motion (now known as BlackBerry).
While at Research in Motion, Livingston was promoted to the position of "Technical Product Management Coordinator" in December 2007. However, he decided to return to school after turning down a full-time job offer on the advice of his manager. Back at the University of Waterloo, he became part of the Velocity program, a startup-focused community, where he made the pivotal decision to forgo completing his degree in order to establish his own startup, which became Kik Messenger.
Kik Messenger, under Livingston's leadership, grew to become a major player in the mobile messaging space, competing with giants like Facebook and WeChat. It boasted an impressive user base of over 275 million registered users, with approximately 40 percent of American teenagers using the platform. The success of the app attracted significant investment, including a $50 million investment from Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which valued Kik at $1 billion.
Livingston's entrepreneurial achievements gained him recognition in various circles. Forbes listed him on their "Top 30 under 30" technology list in 2014, acknowledging his influence and impact in the tech industry. Additionally, Torontolife ranked him at number 20 on their "Toronto's 50 Most Influential" list in November 2015.
Livingston was born in Toronto. As a child, Livingston had a passion for building Lego structures and automated machines in his basement. He continues following this interest on the school robotics team. From 1997 to 2005, Livingston attended the Crescent School, in Toronto. Livingston took a mechatronics bachelor's degree at the University of Waterloo from 2005 to 2009 in order to "pursue his dream of building robots." He participated in the Waterloo co-op program there, with placements at Honda and the City of Toronto government. Livingston eventually landed a co-op position as a system engineering project coordinator at Research in Motion.
In December 2007, eight months into his co-op, Livingston was promoted by Research in Motion to "Technical Product Management Coordinator". In 2008, he turned down a full-time job to return to school at the advice of his manager.
Back at Waterloo, Livingston decided to take part in the Velocity program, a startup-focused community where he founded Kik Messenger instead of completing his degree.
Kik now competes with Facebook and WeChat, boasts over 275 million registered users, and is used by approximately 40 percent of American teens. Chinese Internet giant Tencent recently invested $50 million into Kik, placing its value at $1 Billion.
Ted Livingston's vision is centred around the idea of creating a world where people can freely share their unique talents and passions with others. In an article he wrote on the Medium website, he expressed his imagination of a future where there would be numerous platforms, each catering to different talents and interests, providing individuals with spaces to showcase their skills and creativity.
He envisions a decentralized landscape, breaking away from traditional centralized social media platforms, where individuals can express themselves authentically and connect with like-minded people who appreciate their talents. In this vision, there would be no barriers of age, nationality, or race, as the value placed on a person's contributions and abilities would be solely based on their passion and skills.
At the core of this vision is the concept of Kin, which is a digital currency created by Kik Messenger. The Kin cryptocurrency would be utilized in these talent-sharing platforms to reward creators for their contributions. Unlike many conventional systems that often prioritize metrics like follower count or popularity, Ted's vision promotes a more meritocratic approach, where individuals are recognized and rewarded based on the genuine value they bring to the community through their talents and passions.
By encouraging a culture of inclusivity and removing the emphasis on external factors like age, nationality, or race, Ted aims to foster a global community that appreciates and celebrates diversity in talent and skills. He envisions a world where everyone has the opportunity to contribute and be recognized for their unique abilities, fostering a more vibrant and dynamic creative ecosystem.
Recognition and Awards
- Ted Livingston profile | Forbes
- Top people in crypto and blockchain 2020 - Ted Livingston | CoinTelegraph
- Ted Livingston (Kik) biography | Wikipedia
- The Ledger 40 under 40 (2018) | Fortune
- Ted Livingston biography | Bloomberg
- Ted Livingston's Linkedin profile | Linkedin
- Ted Livingston : The Journey of the Founder of Kik Messenger | Your Tech Story
- Tencent | openbusinesscouncil.org
- Facebook | openbusinesscouncil.org
- Profile of Ted Livingston | Coinspeaker
- Ted Livingston's biography | Zoominfo
- Kik Raises $50M From Tencent To Become The “WeChat Of The West” | TechCrunch
- TED LIVINGSTON SAYS KIK WILL NOT STOP FIGHTING UNTIL IT HAS “NO DOLLARS LEFT” | Betakit
- Biography of Ted Livingston | Topio Networks
- Kik CEO Confirms Kik is Shutting Down to Focus on Kin | CTech by Calcalis
- Moving Forward Boldly with Kin | Ted Livingston
- How Ted Livingston went from RIM reject to Kik starter | Toronto Star
- Conversation with Ted Livingston, CEO Kik | Howdy
- Inside the Chat Wars with Kik’s Ted Livingston | TechCrunch