A native of Gary, Indiana, Wagner received a B.S. from Indiana University, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, and subsequently earned a law degree from the University of Virginia.
After becoming a partner in a major law firm in Dallas, he decided to follow his dreams and become a full-time entrepreneur in the emerging Internet sector.
In 1995, Wagner joined with fellow Indiana alumnus Mark Cuban to launch AudioNet, which broadcast live sporting events and radio stations over the Internet. As CEO of AudioNet, Mr. Wagner grew the company to employ some 300 people and expanded its offerings to include corporate events and business services. In 1998, the company’s name was changed to Broadcast.com, and under the stewardship of Wagner and Cuban, went public. The Broadcast.com IPO set an opening-day record, with shares climbing 249% from an offering price of $18 to a closing price of $62.75. In 1999, Broadcast.com was sold to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion. Wagner continued to lead the business as a division of Yahoo! until May 2000, when he declined an offer to become Yahoo!’s Chief Operating Officer to focus on other interests.
Wagner later fused his passion for entertainment with his business portfolio to build the Wagner/Cuban Companies. This vertically integrated portfolio of companies spans content creation, distribution and exhibition: 2929 Entertainment, 2929 Productions, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres and AXS TV. As CEO of 2929 Entertainment, Wagner has provided artistic vision and business acumen critical to such important films as the Oscar®-nominated Good Night, and Good Luck and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, as well as Akeelah and the Bee and The Road. Wagner currently is developing The Flyer, a film about the Wright brothers’ invention of flight. In addition, Wagner serves on the boards of directors for both the American Film Institute and the Tribeca Film Institute.
Wagner’s business interests also include a stake in the World Champion Dallas Mavericks, as well as in The Weinstein Company. Additionally, he is a founder and co-chairman of Content Partners LLC, a company that invests in the back-end profit participations of Hollywood talent. Wagner also continues to invest in and nurture a variety of technology and media start-ups. In 2012, Wagner was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of outstanding Texas business leaders.
In addition to his business endeavors, Wagner has made a very substantial commitment of his time, energy and resources to giving back through the Todd Wagner Foundation. For more than a decade, the Foundation has implemented Wagner’s vision of venture philanthropy and invested tens of millions of dollars in cutting-edge programs that empower underserved communities and at-risk youth.
The Foundation’s signature program is MIRACLES®, a structured after-school program focusing on technology, education and life skills for children grades 6-12. In 2007, the Foundation made a substantial grant that united the MIRACLES® curriculum with The Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) technology program “Club Tech.”
One of the Foundation’s first initiatives was the Minority Technology Fund, which provided resources, mentoring and training to help entrepreneurs in Dallas’ inner city compete in today’s technology-driven world. The Fund made important early investments in several companies who continue to thrive more than a decade later.
Wagner is also an ardent supporter of the After-School All-Stars (ASAS), which offers year-round technology, academic, sports and cultural programs for inner-city children to help them achieve success in school and in life. In addition to serving on the ASAS national board of directors for 10 years, he brought the organization to Dallas in 2001 and built it into a widely respected program that has reached approximately 8,600 children through partnerships with Dallas ISD and dozens of community- and faith-based organizations.
In 2003, the Todd Wagner Foundation partnered with the nationally renowned Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) to bring KIPP’s first college preparatory public school to Dallas. KIPP TRUTH currently has more than 350 students enrolled in grades five through eight, and KIPP recently announced ambitious expansion plans for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with hopes of having 10 KIPP schools serving 5,000 students in the region by 2025.
Other recent Foundation investments include a multi-year commitment to The First Tee’s “Campaign for 10 Million Young People,” of which Wagner himself became a Trustee.
In recognition of his business and philanthropic efforts, Wagner has received numerous honors including induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame (2012), the After-School All-Stars Inspire Award (2010); Special Care and Career Services Milton P. Levy Volunteerism Award (2008); Dallas CASA’s “Champion of Kids” (2005); Kappa Sigma’s National Man of the Year (2003); and Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2002) by Dallas’ Center for Nonprofit Management.