Despite Millions in the Bank and on the Balance Sheet, Jukin Media Took $2.2M in PPP

The pandemic has put Hollywood productions out of commission, but at least one entertainment company — L.A.-based Jukin Media Inc. — seemed to be hitting its groove by finding a new niche in entertaining quarantine videos.

Yet despite millions in the bank and on the balance sheet, Jukin also took $2.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, according to data released by the U.S. Small Business Administration and confirmed by the company.


Jukin Media said in a statement to dot.LA that the company "applied and received $2.2 million" to "cover its payroll costs and help avoid layoffs." It also noted that a substantial portion of its revenue is advertising based and that Jukin has seen a "significant dip" in advertising revenue because of the pandemic despite "modest gains" on the licensing side of the business.

"As a mid-sized, independent business, we have saved jobs in large part because we secured this assistance," the statement said.

PPP money was ostensibly allocated to keep small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus afloat during the pandemic. Businesses are required to attest that they have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jukin Media is all about user-generated content. A large part of its business is licensing videos and providing it in its library — now with some 65,000 videos — to major companies, brands and media companies.

The company also boasts 200 million fans and 2.5 billion monthly views. It has paid out $25 million to video owners — through revenue shares or up-front payments — over the last five years, Skogmo recently told dot.LA. It also syndicates real-time feeds to news organizations like The Associated Press, Tribune Media and Reuters, among others.

There has been much debate among venture capital-backed startups as to whether it's appropriate to take PPP. Albert Wenger, a partner at Union Square Ventures, wrote on his blog in early April that "there is a money grab going on right now by some venture backed startups that this program absolutely should exclude."

Wenger urged VC-backed companies with lots of money in the bank and limited COVID-19 impact to think twice about applying for PPP. Meanwhile, dozens of companies gave back their PPP loans amid public shaming, because they didn't need it.

In an interview with dot.LA at the end of March, Jukin's founder and CEO Jonathan Skogmo said the company has raised $6 million strategically from Disney, Samsung and Peter Guber of Sony.

"The $6 million we raised, we never touched, it sits on the balance sheet," Skogmo said, noting that many companies around him went out of business. "You have to play the long game, the short game is not going to win, it's not just growth at all costs. Slow growth is perfectly acceptable."

Skogmo also said the company has seen an uptick in videos from people who are getting creative while quarantined in their homes. His team had already reviewed hundreds of COVID-19 related videos and were representing dozens on the licensing side of the business at the time. Skogmo said the company has seen a rise in engagement of those watching their media.

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Editor's note: dot.LA received funds of less than the $150K threshold for disclosure from the Payment Protection Program.

Updated with statement from Jukin Media at 3:11 p.m.

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On this week's episode of LA Venture, hear from Marcos Gonzalez, the managing partner at Vamos Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund which invests in Latino and diverse founders. Over half of L.A. County is Latino. A relatively new fund, investments are in the range of $100,000 to $500,000. Seems like a great time to be investing in this community! And, Vamos is hiring...

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El Segundo-based telemedicine technology provider Cloudbreak Health and Florida-based UpHealth Holdings, a digital healthcare provider, announced they will combine and go public via a SPAC in a deal that values the combined companies at $1.35 billion.

Named UpHealth, Inc., the new company aims to streamline online health care by becoming a single provider of four different services: telehealth, teletherapy, a health care appointment and management system and an online pharmacy.

UpHealth runs healthcare platform Thrasys Inc. and MedQuest Pharmacy, along with two other behavioral health companies. The merger with Cloudbreak, which under the pandemic expanded their interpretation services to remote medicine, will give the new company a foothold in almost 2,000 hospitals.

"What we wanted to do was form a business that could really be a digital infrastructure for health care across the continuum of care, right from home to hospital," said Jamey Edwards, the co-founder and CEO of Cloudbreak. Under the agreement, he will become the company's chief operating officer.

GigCapital2 expects the merger transaction to close at the start of Q1 2021. UpHealth will be publicly traded under the ticker "UPH" on the New York Stock Exchange. UpHealth's integrated care management platform serves over 5 million people, and is expected to reach 40 million over the next three years, according to the company.

Jamey Edwards, Cloudbreak

Jamey Edwards, co-founder and executive director of Cloudbreak

COVID-19 caused a meteoric growth in the use of telehealth services. In February, 0.1% of Medicare primary visits were provided through telehealth. In April, that number was nearly 44%, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Key stakeholders have seen and responded well to the benefits that telemedicine can bring, but they need a more comprehensive, integrated solution," said Al Gatmaitan, who has been named the co-chief executive officer of UpHealth. "This is what UpHealth focuses on, the adoption of digital health solutions well beyond the pandemic crisis."

The deal with the blank check company GigCapital2 gives the two digital health companies access to a wider network. UpHealth and its family of companies operate in 10 countries and their pharmacy has 13,000 e-prescribers in the U.S.


UpHealth will use the Cloudbreak platform as part of their global telehealth services to provide patients with round-the-clock care under a variety of specialties, including telepsychiatry and tele-urology. UpHealth also has contracts internationally, to provide country-wide care in India, Southeast Asia and Africa.

Edwards joined Cloudbreak in 2008 when it went from public to private. It has raised $35 million in venture funds, most recently in the first quarter of this year scoring $10 million from Columbia Partners Private Capital.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story identified Jamey Edwards as executive director of Cloudbreak, he is its CEO.

Ryan Edwards, the co-founder of Happier Camper, said he's asked all the time if his company leans on influencer marketing to promote their vintage-style trailers beloved by millennials.

With a waitlist six months out and demand growing from hotel-weary travelers, he said it isn't a priority yet.

"We almost don't need to," said Edwards.

That's because the $25,000 to $50,000 custom trailers have been a hit with a loyal fan base, and rising demand during the pandemic has only helped. Orders for compact trailers at the lower price end, including Happier Camper's 75-square-foot camper, are growing as newbie road trippers look for COVID-safe travels.

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