Canvas Media Studios, the digital studio formed last year by David Tochterman and Bernie Su, has received an investment from Allen DeBevoise’s Third Wave Digital and MNM Creative.
The L.A.-based startup didn’t disclose the amount of the funding but said it was in the “seven figures.” Canvas plans to use the investment to expand development, production and distribution capabilities focused on premium scripted content for multiple platforms.
Canvas also announced that it has hired production exec Tracy Aftergood as VP of development. Previously, she was VP at MediaWeaver Entertainment, where she produced digital movie musical “Summer Forever” starring Megan Nicole and distributed by Disney’s Maker Studios, and before that she was VP of original content at Rock Paper Scissors.
“Our plan is to follow the model of successful creative driven studios, producing multiple projects and building up a library of original series content we can own and effectively monetize,” said Tochterman, CEO of Canvas Media Studios, previously a longtime TV industry exec.
Su, who is Canvas’ chief creative officer, added, “Tracy will lead our creative team, and we will be identifying writers, investing in talent deals and financing development to build on our history of creating series franchises for multiple platforms including television.”
The company’s first production was “Vanity,” starring Denise Richards, Karrueche Tran and several online influencers, which was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award. The series, set in the world of New York fashion elite, was distributed on YouTube by StyleHaul and exclusively sponsored by Maybelline, and is now also available on Amazon Prime. Canvas Media Studios also struck a deal with New Leaf Literary & Media to develop digital series based on four young-adult novels by New Leaf clients, including Cora Carmack’s “Losing It.”
Canvas’ next project will be “Socio,” a crime thriller about a teen tech savant who teams with a morally questionable police detective to catch a serial killer, produced in partnership with Judy McGrath’s Astronauts Wanted.
“Canvas Media Studios, with its unique blend of business and creativity, is well positioned to take advantage of the changing media marketplace,” DeBevoise said in a statement. “Bernie and David are a great team with a long and successful track record and a very clear vision for the future.” DeBevoise, chairman of Machinima, has investments in several other digital-media companies through Third Wave including Mitu, Jukin Media, Tastemade, DigiTour, Pluto TV, Vessel and izo (formerly DanceOn).
Michael Chow, principal and partner in MNM Creative, added, “The future consumption of digital content is to create deeper connectivity with the consumer. We believe Canvas Media Studios is creatively redefining the boundaries and an innovator in this space.”
Tochterman, before co-founding Canvas Media Studios, was a digital strategy consultant for PBS, ABC and Starz and before that launched the digital media division of Innovative Artists, led the TV division of Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and was a senior VP at the Carsey-Werner Co. Su’s past projects include “Frankenstein MD” for PBS and digital series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and “Emma Approved.”