All Def Digital, the online media company co-founded last year by hip hop impresario Russell Simmons, announced today that it has raised $5 million in funding from a group of venture-capital funds led by long-time media investors Greycroft Partners. Simmons and Greycroft’s Mark Terbeek, who will join ADD’s board, made the announcement.
Simmons said the company would use the additional capital to accelerate growth, enhance artist- and talent-development initiatives and finance original programming in comedy, music, news and poetry. Those are the areas where it already has largely been creating shows and series for distribution on YouTube and beyond since its launch nearly a year ago as a multi-channel network. The company’s stars have included music acts such as Spoken Reasons and Odd Future, who each have done web series.
Greycroft previously has taken investment positions in several budding online-media companies, including Maker Studios (now owned by Disney), AwesomenessTV (now owned by DreamWorks Animation) and the Huffington Post (now owned by AOL).
“Alan Patricoff at Greycroft is one of the most forward looking and savvy investors in early and advanced stage companies, period,” said Simmons. “And Mark Terbeek was one of the first VCs to see the revolution in video coming, having experience in many related investments. Greycroft’s vantage point and network of relationships across the media landscape will be tremendously valuable to us as we grow.”
The other investors participating in the Series A round of financing include Advancit Capital, e.ventures and Nu Horizons Investments, a fund established between Simmons and ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons-Leissner that already had an equity position in the company.
Advancit is headed by Shari Redstone, the president of National Amusements and vice-chairwoman of Viacom and CBS. The company’s partners include Jonathan Miller, the former AOL Chairman and chief digital officer at News Corp.