Matthew Rutler, a producer and investor who’s the fiancé of pop star Christina Aguilera, has officially joined celebrity-tutorial startup MasterClass as senior VP of talent and business development.
Rutler was already an investor in MasterClass through MX, the production and investment company he formed with Aguilera last year.
Aguilera was among the first instructors lined up by MasterClass, which sells online video courses developed around individual celebs for $90 each. The San Francisco-based startup was founded by entrepreneurs David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen.
“I fell in love with David and Aaron’s vision as an investor,” Rutler said. “I’ll be assisting them to expand and develop our roster of great instructors, and to get our classes into the hands of anyone who has an Internet connection.” Rutler will remain a partner with MX, but he said MasterClass will be his primary focus.
Rutler now heads up MasterClass’ Los Angeles office, which is currently located in West Hollywood. The startup’s other L.A. employee is talent manager Olivia Lubeck, who formerly worked at Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate.
“We’ve been getting a lot of inbound requests (from talent) and we’re really excited that Matt is on board to help us,” said Rogier, CEO of MasterClass. “Our initial plan was to start in the arts and sports, but now we’re looking at expanding into business and other areas.”
So far, MasterClass has launched classes with Aguilera on singing, Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman on acting, Usher on performance, James Patterson on writing, Werner Herzog on filmmaking and Serena Williams on tennis. A screenwriting course led by Aaron Sorkin is slated to debut later this summer and MasterClass also is working with Annie Liebowitz on a photography class.
MasterClass, which has 32 employees, has raised $21.4 million in funding to date. Investors include New Enterprise Associates, Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Beta, Novel TMT Ventures, Advancit Capital, WME Ventures, Robert Downey Jr.’s Downey Ventures, Javelin Venture Partners, Harrison Metal Ventures and Usher.
Rutler said he first connected with MasterClass through Alex Gurevich, partner with Javelin Venture Partners, and that Aguilera got involved after MX’s investment. “It was exciting to see Christina’s class come together,” he said.
MX currently has a first-look TV deal with Lionsgate. Together they are producing music-based game show “Tracks” for Spike TV, for which Aguilera and Rutler serve as exec producers, as well as a digital series, “Chef Without Borders” starring Curtis Stone. In addition to film and television work, MX has made investments in companies including Lyft, Clutter, Afrostream, Pinterest, DraftKings and MasterClass.
Rutler lives in L.A. with Aguilera and their daughter, Summer Rain Rutler. Born and raised in New Jersey, Rutler began his career as a guitarist with the Nate Mott Band before breaking into the movie biz as a production assistant on films including “The Proposal,” “Grown Ups,” “The Town” and “The Social Network.”