Woven Digital – a fast-growing online-media company with 10 pop-culture and entertainment websites and a movie project – has closed an $18 million Series A round of financing led by Institutional Venture Partners, a blue-chip Silicon Valley venture-capital firm.
Other investors participating include a number of names from Los Angeles sports, digital media and entertainment, including UTA and senior partners of law firm Ziffren Brittenham, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Chris DeWolfe of MySpace and SGN,and former NBA players Baron Davis and Jermaine O’Neal. Other new investors include Buddy Media co-founder Mike Lazerow and the San Francisco 49ers football team. IVP Principal Somesh Dash will join Woven’s board.
Woven CEO Scott Grimes said the money would be used to double the company’s sales force; beef up its editorial team in areas such as pop culture and entertainment; expand more aggressively into production of video shorts and snippets; and build out the capabilities of its custom technology back-end.
The Culver City-based company owns and operates half its 10 websites – including Uproxx and Brobible – and is partners handling ad sales for others, such as the big humor site The Chive. It has 5 million daily visitors and more than 90 million monthly views across all its sites, led by Uproxx, which connects hardcore film and TV fans with creative talent behind those shows.
The company is launching three episodic video series focused on music, sports and technology. Each of the video series will have 10 to 30 episodes, typically 3 to 5 minutes long but potentially somewhat longer, Grimes said.
“It’s only a natural progression that we start getting into longer-form content that people like,” Grimes said. Though the shows aren’t targeted for traditional television, that eventually could be an option for the new series or similar projects. “We’re really less concerned when we create video content where it might live, but where it sustains.”
The company does a lot of promotional work with film studios, Grimes said, estimating it worked on marketing initiatives for about 50 movies this year, often with branded or sponsored media.
IVP is one of the oldest VC firms on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley, and has previously invested in companies such as Twitter, Dropbox, Netflix and Snapchat. IVP’s investment is notable because it’s one of the few Silicon Valley VCs willing to put money into the many digital-media companies springing up in Los Angeles right now. The four-year-old Woven has previously raised $5 million in seed funding, Grimes said.