UGO gets $13 mil in new coin

GRP, Gryphon Holdings lead latest round

Online entertainment venture Underground Online Networks has secured an additional $13 million in financing, just days after pinkslipping 30% of its staff — about 40 employees — on Friday.

The fresh coin is part of the company’s fifth round of $23 million in financing, which includes $10 million the company announced in December.

UGO Networks has raised $80 million and has annual revenue of $15 million. Earlier investors include Liberty Digital, J.W. Seligman, Vivendi Ventures, Chase Entertainment Group and George Soros.

Lead investors in the latest round include GRP, formerly known as DLJ’s Global Retail Partners, and Missouri-based Gryphon Holdings, which invested in UGO in previous rounds.

The Gotham-based company said it will use the proceeds to expand its professional services unit, UGO Networks Technology Solutions, as well as to develop and sell sponsorship packages and to expand its affiliate network, which consists of 350 Web sites revolving around animation, music, games, wrestling, television and films.

“UGO Networks will use the new funding to continue operations until our breakeven, which will happen before the end of calendar year 2001,” said UGO prexy and CEO J. Moses. “To this end, we are taking cost-cutting measures to increase efficiencies in our business.”

UGO board members include Strauss Zelnick, former prexy-CEO of BMG Entertainment, and Yves Sisteron, managing partner of GRP. The network has 3.7 million unique users each month, according to Media Metrix.

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