The Hollywood Stock Exchange has secured its largest venture capital financing to date — $23 million from the Travelers Insurance Co. and XL Ventures.
The Santa Monica-based company said it will pour the funding into its three divisions: the HSX online film and music stock trading game, publishing and market research operations.
The investment completes the company’s latest round of financing, which began last month when NBC took a multimillion-dollar stake in HSX in return for content for its Web sites Snap.com and NBC.com.
“As HSX continues to strengthen our community of entertainment-savvy consumers, build our brand in the marketplace and expand into new product offerings, it’s important that we continue to receive endorsements from such exceptional members of the venture capital community,” said David Herman, prexy of HSX.
Travelers Insurance, a subsid of Citigroup, has invested in other Internet companies, including 24/7 Media, On2.com, Internet Financial Network and Andromedia.
XL Ventures is a venture capital outfit focused on making investments in companies involved in advertising, marketing and business-to-business services through the Internet to both online and off-line customers.
Citigroup joins board
As part of the investment round, Jack Rivkin, exec veep of Citigroup Investments, has joined HSX’s board of directors.
“Our investment strategy at Citigroup is to focus on high-growth, well-managed expansion stage companies,” Rivkin said. “The Hollywood Stock Exchange embodies what we look for in a company: an exceptional management team, a well-developed business strategy and a compelling online product.”
Nearly 800,000 Netizens buy and sell virtual stock in celebrities, movies and music properties online every month using “Hollywood dollars.”