NakedSword CEO Tim Valenti Profiled in the S.F. Chronicle

Bob Johnson

SAN FRANCISCO — founder and CEO Tim Valenti landed on the front-page of last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle in a feature article detailing the gay producer’s career.

The paper called Valenti a pioneer of technology who embraced streaming video and VOD nearly a decade ago, creating a “boom” in the genre.

Comparing NakedSword to Netflix, the Chronicle said the site offers loyal members — 10 percent of whom are straight females — a choice of more than 14,000 streaming films, two of the nation's biggest gay porn blogs and new original content that includes gay porn soap operas, miniseries, reality shows, a comic talk show and full-length feature films.

“I want the Sword brand to be synonymous with sexy, hip and open,” Valenti told the Chronicle. “We're living in a world that's much more open to us and who we are — from politics to entertainment.”

The 53 year-old executive is the son of Frank Valenti, a prominent Hawaiian sportscaster, who grew up mingling with Hollywood stars and sports figures.

Valenti got his start in San Francisco after helping the wife of porn mogul Jim Mitchell establish an online presence for the adult landmark O’Farrell Theater.

His web savvy and recognition of the burgeoning video game industry’s online streaming power led him to start NakedSword in 2000.  “It was wow, what can we build on our own that uses this technology? I thought, well, we're in San Francisco — gay porn."

The quickly successful company was bought by VOD powerhouse AEBN in 2007 where Valenti is now a member of senior management and a part owner.

Valenti’s stance on the controversial mandatory condoms issue was also addressed in the piece, with Valenti saying such laws are unnecessary and that the industry is self-policing, pointing out that straight porn producers require medical screening and gay producers mandate condoms on set.

“With the AIDS crisis, the responsibility to have safe sex is something we take seriously,” he said. “We're a condom-mandatory company. But broader than that, we need to — as an industry — be willing to work with people to make sure concerns are addressed, without being defensive and defiant.”

He also believes forcing condoms for actors is unconstitutional, and could push California’s Porn Valley to produce in other states.

And although he's vocal about the industry's most sensitive and social issues, it’s Valenti’s feel for the next big thing that’s helped make him a business success, according to the article.

"He understands the nature of media — whether it's music or movies or news,” industry journalist and filmmaker Michael Stabile said. "He plays the long game in a way that few people do."

Valenti is also adamant about safeguarding his company’s staff. “I'm a small businessman,” he said. “I care about the people who work with me, and I'm invested in their success.”

Commenting on his own recipe for success, Valenti said, "Be ethical, be respectful — but let's have fun doing it."