VENN Gaming Network Raises $26M and New Distribution
Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake
VENN leveled up in its quest to become the 24/7 streaming network for gaming on Tuesday, announcing it has closed a $26 million Series A financing round. The Playa Vista-based company has also turbocharged its leadership and distribution network.
The Videogame Entertainment and News Network launched in August with $17 million in seed funding. That round was led by Bay Area gaming fund BITKRAFT, which also co-led the Series A — this time with Nexstar Media Group, a NASDAQ-listed telecoms company headquartered in Irving, Texas.
As part of its investment, Nexstar, which claims to reach nearly 63% of U.S. television households, received exclusivity for local television broadcasting and the right to appoint a member to VENN's board.
In a statement, Nexstar executive Thomas E. Carter said, "VENN is a new kind of TV network built for the streaming and digital generation, and it's developing leading-edge content for the millennial and Gen Z cultures who are obsessed with gaming. Gaming and esports are two fast growing sectors and through our investment we plan to distribute VENN content across our broadcast platform to address a younger audience; utilize VENN to gain early access to gaming-adjacent content; and present local and national brands with broadcast and digital marketing and advertising opportunities to reach younger audiences."
In addition to the new financing, VENN announced Tuesday it will now be available on The Roku Channel, complementing its existing distribution channels, which include Plex; LG Channels, powered by Xumo; Samsung TV Plus; and VIZIO.
Similar distribution agreements have helped VENN attract advertising partners, including brands such as Subway, Draft Kings and Adidas.
Also announced Tuesday: Jeff Jacobs, formerly a production head at Viacom and MTV, and most recently president of a third-party production firm whose clients included Viacom and the NBA, has joined VENN as executive vice president and general manager. His responsibilities will focus on growth and expansion.
VENN broadcasts from its 8,000 square-foot studio space in Playa Vista. It was co-founded by Ben Kusin, formerly of Electronic Arts and Vivendi Games and son of GameStop co-founder Gary Kusin; and Ariel Horn, a pioneer of esports with experience at NBC Universal and Riot Games. He was also an early employee at Twitch.
- Three Gaming Startups Pitch Top Gaming VCs - dot.LA ›
- VENN Launches 24/7 Gaming Coverage - dot.LA ›
- Venn No Longer Wants to Be MTV for the Gaming Generation - dot.LA ›
Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.
On today's episode of Office Hours, hear from GOAT co-founder and CEO Eddy Lu about big, public — and most importantly, resolved — founder fights, insight on when to know it's time to pivot or quit, how GOAT differentiates itself from other sneaker ecommerce sites — and one of GOAT's early and clever growth hacks that convinced consumers the company had more merch than they actually did.
- GOAT's $100M Raise Fuels its Trendsetter Ambitions - dot.LA ›
- Office Hours Podcast: Bill Gurley On Startups, Venture Capital and ... ›
- Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz on the Power of Brands and Barbie - dot.LA ›
- Daina Trout, Health-Ade Kombucha CEO, on How to Pivot - dot.LA ›
Los Angeles is home to around 5,000 startups, the majority of which are in their young, formative years.
Which of those thousands are poised for a breakout in 2021? We asked dozens of L.A.'s top VCs to weigh in. We wanted to know which companies they would have invested in if they could go back and do it all over again.
Boiling<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vbWVkaWEucmJsLm1zL2ltYWdlP3U9JTJGaW1hZ2VzJTNGcSUzRHRibiUzQUFOZDlHY1EwRjdlRzlxY3JFd1lNVS12T2VTWng1NFd6VFdWUktaMFpyQSUyNnVzcXAlM0RDQVUmaG89aHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZlbmNyeXB0ZWQtdGJuMC5nc3RhdGljLmNvbSZzPTEwMDImaD1jOGIyM2Y5YWNhNGNhNDY3NzZhNmUzNTU3MWI2YzAzNjcwOTU1Nzg0ODQxZDdiZGIyZjAxMzUxNjdkN2I5NWY2JnNpemU9OTgweCZjPTE2MDM4MjI5MTgiLCJleHBpcmVzX2F0IjoxNjY1MTY5NTcxfQ.iTVRhSe0UulUxSyMUZ4QA7_0njADdWe3QEJ28-xW6m0/img.jpg" id="a03b9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="03faa4898896a9ce5be09d51dc104b73" alt="Pipe logo" />
Simmering<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vbWVkaWEucmJsLm1zL2ltYWdlP3U9JTJGaW1hZ2VzJTNGcSUzRHRibiUzQUFOZDlHY1JlR3QzLWlHSmFtYVJnLXNwSXVYcDc5N0xOdnpTYWhYYVloQSUyNnVzcXAlM0RDQVUmaG89aHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZlbmNyeXB0ZWQtdGJuMC5nc3RhdGljLmNvbSZzPTYwNiZoPWU3NzNhYTkwODZkNmE4OWQwMWU0ZjZkODk0ODU1ZWEyZDIzMmU3YTYyNzJjYTU3Mzk3MmI0NmQ0NjAxMDY3YzMmc2l6ZT05ODB4JmM9MjQ3NDg5MDE0MiIsImV4cGlyZXNfYXQiOjE2NzAzMzU0NjB9.iqCUfvVUI22AGAz-QYPiS7XFb26sw3mGaU8seorLqxQ/img.jpg" id="44f84" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cbdc9b0cdf21d3873eef2a40647ae810" alt="Freck Beauty logo" />
- Meet 3 Early Stage Science Startups at First Look's Showcase - dot.LA ›
- What Early Stage Startups Should Be Thinking About COVID-19 ... ›
- First Resonance Lands $3.5M, Looks to Future of Aerospace - dot.LA ›
- Whatnot Joins Livestream Shopping Craze with $20M Boost - dot.LA ›