Bruno Z. Wu first met Shane McMahon in 2011 when both men were media entrepreneurs in China.
McMahon, son of wrestling magnates Vince and Linda, had a struggling video-on-demand business, a U.S.-based company that had already changed names and industries more than once.
“I said to him that I believed the video-on-demand business has no future in China,” Wu told me in an interview on Wednesday.
They became friends and co-board members, and remain so. Wu eventually invested in YOU On Demand, McMahon’s company. With the swagger of a guy on his way to making a billion dollars as an investor in TV syndication, technology and media-related businesses, Wu thought of it as a turnaround play.
Also in 2011, as it happened, Wu started investing in a process called blockchain, a form of electronic ledger that uses artificial intelligence and big data to record and execute transactions with ultra-high efficiency, literally in chains of huge information blocks — the same technology that underlies bitcoin and other so-called crypto-currencies.
By the fall of 2017, the picture came together. Wu bought a controlling interest in YOU On Demand, renamed it Seven Stars Cloud Inc. and maintained its status as a publicly traded, U.S. corporation — with an eye toward creating the first fully integrated blockchain business.
In the switchover from media to blockchain, from YOD to Seven Stars Cloud, the company needed a new center of operations. Its landing spot: West Hartford, Connecticut, a bucolic, if rundown, 58-acre former greater Hartford UConn campus.
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