Despite a crowded market, many investors including Angels and professional Venture Capitalists are still trying to catch the wave on Internet video. The focus of most seems to be on niche plays, perhaps to diversify portfolios and hedge against future failures.
Three such deals, all with entertainment professionals onboard, and all added to the Metue Company Watchlist’s, have been announced recently.
60 Frames Entertainment
Launched Wednesday, 60 Frames is a company focused on creating both original video content and services to help professional content creators handle ad sales and syndication. The company was incubated by United Talent Agency (“UTA”) and received advertising related assistance from Spot Runner which is an LA based ad services startup focused on helping smaller businesses create and buy television ads. (Through 60 Frames, Spot Runner will now gain an online advertising channel).
Brent Weinstein, who was responsible for UTA’s Digital Media Department and Online division, will run the company as its CEO. For initial capitalization, 60 Frames received $3.5m in financing from Tudor Investment Corporation and the Pilot Group. Film making brothers Joel and Ethan Coen famed for their offbeat, intelligent comedies from Raising Arizona and Fargo to O Brother Where Art Thou are affiliated to help create content.
From Slim Jim Phantom, drummer of music group the Stray Cats and co-owner of famed LA music spot, the Cat Club on Sunset Strip (which under prior ownership was once the Fog Club, home of the Doors first concert), comes a site focused on live music and pop culture. The site will host exclusive band performances and interviews. There will also be two sister sites: rockingcomedy.com is planed to provide comedic talent and catwalk.com for fashion fans
A party was apparently held July 8th at the Cat Club to celebrate the launch which is expected to be live online within the next few weeks. References to the party listed Anthony Bettencourt, former CEO of Verity and Entrepreneur in Residence at US Venture Partners, as a co-host suggesting he has hand in the new site. (The site appears backed by individuals and not venture funds at this time).
National Banana is stepping up to compete in the comedy niche against Sequoia Capital funded (and Hollywood supported) comedy video site Funny or Die which features video shorts from comedian Will Ferrell (Old School, Talladega Nights etc) and other notable stars. The National Banana site, which is live, has received investment from US Venture Partners reportedly in the range of $1m to $2m. Jerry Zucker, famed producer director behind megahits including Airplane and the Naked Gun movies, is on board to produce content. Venture Beat reports National Banana will be run by Anthony Bettencourt, former Entrepreneur in Residence at US Venture Partners (who has also been affiliated in some reports with Rocking Cat as mentioned above.)