Woven Digital, an online publisher whose male-focused entertainment and lifestyle properties include Uproxx and BroBible, has raised $18 million in Series A funding led by Institutional Venture Partners along with other investors including UTA and Advancit Capital.
The round brings Woven to $23.5 million raised to date. Also participating in the latest round are the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers; senior partners from entertainment law firm Ziffren Brittenhanm; MySpace and SGN co-founder Chris DeWolfe; Buddy Media co-founder Mike Lazerow; and former NBA players Baron Davis and Jermaine O’Neal.
With the funding, IVP principal Somesh Dash will join Woven’s board. The venture-capital firm’s previous investments have included Netflix, Twitter, Snapchat, Dropbox, SoundCloud and Supercell.
Woven co-founder and CEO Scott Grimes said the funding will go toward ramping up sales and editorial teams; accelerating development of its technology platforms; and expanding Woven Studios, its original video-production arm, with plans to launch three original series in early 2015.
Founded in 2010, L.A.-based Woven has heretofore been on the sidelines in raising capital compared with digital-media players like BuzzFeed, Vice Media and Vox Media. Grimes said the main purpose of the fund-raise is to be able to continue to scale quickly and “be on a more level playing field compared with others in the space.” At the same time, he added, Woven will expand in a “capital-constrained way… we’re not going to burn a bunch of money.”
Across 11 brands, Woven Digital reaches more than 90 million users monthly, with nearly 60% of its views coming via mobile devices. The company claims it reaches 45% of online men 18-34 on a monthly basis. In April Woven acquired entertainment news site Uproxx, which reaches more than 26 million users per month. Other sites include BroBible, a college/lifestyle site for young dudes; TheChive; Barstool Sports; and Cheezburger.com.
“In our programming arena, people’s cultural identities are taking place through TV shows, movies and entertainment,” Grimes said.
With the funding, Grimes said Woven Studios will expand to produce more original series and episodic content. Three series slated to launch in 2015 are “Uncharted,” profiling young music artists who are on the verge of being discovered; “Luminaries,” about millennials around the world working on innovative solutions to problems in their communities; and “Underbelly,” a look at unconventional and potentially illegal sports like underground fighting and L.A. street racing.
Woven Studios also develops branded content and has worked with clients including Sony Pictures Entertainment, FX, Comedy Central, AT&T, EA, Miller/Coors, Anheuser Busch and Motorola.
Woven currently has 77 employees, based at its headquarters in Culver City, Calif., and at offices in New York and Chicago. Grimes expects the company to double its headcount within the next six to nine months, staffing up in sales, technology and editorial.