All Def Digital, the online comedy and music network created by Russell Simmons, announced that it has raised $5 million in Series A financing led by venture-capital firm Greycroft Partners, with participation from Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Nu Horizons Investments and e.ventures.
The company said the funding will accelerate its cross-platform growth, artist and talent development initiatives, and original programming in comedy, music, news and poetry, as well as branded entertainment and other sponsorships.
“Alan Patricoff at Greycroft is one of the most forward-looking and savvy investors in early- and advanced-stage companies, period,” Simmons, co-founder of ADD, said in a statement. “And (Greycroft partner) Mark Terbeek was one of the first VCs to see the revolution in video coming, having experience in many related investments. Greycroft’s vantage point and network of relationships across the media landscape will be tremendously valuable to us as we grow.”
With the funding, Terbeek will join the company’s board. Nu Horizons is a fund jointly established between Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons-Leissner.
ADD launched a year ago in partnership with DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV. The All Def Digital channel on YouTube now has more than 275,000 subscribers and has generated more than 52 million views to date. ADD recently announced a collaboration with Samsung to create ADD52, an artist-discovery platform tied into an All Def channel on Samsung’s MilkMusic subscription streaming service.
Terbeek said Greycroft “jumped at the chance” to invest in ADD. “When it comes to nurturing and introducing global audiences to new art forms and new artists, Russell is a one-of-a-kind visionary,” he said in a statement. “He is a prolific entrepreneur who has been very methodically building an outstanding platform and team at All Def Digital.”
Greycroft’s other investments have included Maker Studios (now owned by Disney), AwesomenessTV (acquired by DWA last year) and The Huffington Post (part of AOL).
In July, ADD announced that it hired Sanjay Sharma, previously exec VP of strategy and business development at multichannel network Machinima, as its first president and chief operating officer.