Gaming and entertainment live-streaming network VENN has announced today the close of a $26m (~£19.94m) Series A financing round.
The round was co-led by seed-round investor BITKRAFT and new investor Nexstar Media Group, Inc. Eldridge, WISE Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group, Josh Kroenke (Vice-Chair of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment), and the majority of the existing series-seed investor group also participated in the round.
Under the terms of its investment, Nexstar has secured content and sales exclusivity for local television broadcasting and has the right to appoint a member to VENN’s Board of Directors. Ben Kusin, VENN co-founder and co-CEO, said on the investment: “With this new funding round, VENN is positioned for its next phase of growth as we plan to further expand our content creation capabilities and continue to enhance the distribution of our ‘instant and everywhere’ viewing experience.
“We’re proud to welcome Nexstar as an important strategic investor and exclusive local television partner as we leverage the national reach of their 197 television stations, related digital multicast signals, and expansive digital properties with over 100M MAU and 1B monthly page views in the United States.”
The streaming network has also revealed the addition of Jeff Jacobs to its leadership team as Executive Vice President and General Manager. According to a press release, the former Executive in Charge of Production MTV Music and Entertainment Group will oversee VENN’s content and business operations, as well as supervising the company’s growth and expansion.
“VENN is led by a team with deep experience in gaming and cable television. Jeff’s the latest talented leader to join our group, and he’s brought incredible value already in such a short period of time,” added Kusin. “He will play a significant role in the continuation of our network’s growth plan and content.”
On Nexstar’s investment, Thomas E. Carter, Nexstar Media Group President, COO and CFO, commented: “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.”
VENN also recently acquired The Roku Channel, a TV-based streaming channel which has 40m active accounts and built-in capabilities on one-third of smart-TVs sold, enabling VENN to reach a greater streaming audience.
Esports Insider says: Though the streaming and content space in gaming and esports slowly becoming a crowded space, VENN merges the live-streaming and gaming culture of today with a more traditional TV model, offering periodic shows and unique content. It’ll be interesting to see what VENN can offer consumers with such hefty investment. Time will tell if the venn.tv can become a go-to site for gaming and esports fans.