Benjamin Grubbs, formerly YouTube’s global head of top creator partnerships, has formed a new startup called Next 10 Ventures to mentor and provide funding to digital creators worldwide — with the aim of helping build them into bigger media properties.
Grubbs, who left Google after five and half years in February 2018, has raised $50 million in financing from private investors; he declined to identify his backers. The company plans to begin investing in and partnering with creators, initially in the education, kids’ and young adult categories.
Grubbs said Next 10 is in “active discussions” with different creators at this point. Each venture’s investment size will match seed capital to early-round levels, and will vary based on the business opportunity.
“What I was looking at was, how do we play an active role to help creators shape their businesses and scale them?” Grubbs said in an interview. The name of the company alludes to the long-range strategic vision creators have for themselves — or have the potential to develop — for the next 10 years.
When Grubbs worked at YouTube, he said, the question that came up time and again when creators were interested in expanding into new areas was, “How do the projects get financed?”
“What we’re looking at doing is shaping business and product plans with content creators and the creator marketplace – and bringing capital to the table,” he said.
Next 10 Ventures, incorporated in March 2018, is based in Los Angeles with offices in Singapore. The other senior exec for Next 10 Ventures is COO Paul Condolora, who previously led digital and consumer products at Turner’s Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, and was the co-head of the Harry Potter franchise at Warner Bros.
Grubbs has a particular focus on Asia — he previously headed up YouTube kids and learning partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region. He also worked at Turner Broadcasting as executive director of interactive media for Asia-Pacific, where he developed new digital business models for existing intellectual property. That included evolving the Tuzki character born in China on a college student’s Sina blog into licensing franchise across books, apparel, and mobile and social products.
“We’re not just focus on content out of the U.S. in English,” Grubbs said. “We’re looking at localization and market-specific opportunities.”