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Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo Invests in Whistle Sports

WndrCo, the mobile-video holding company whose founders include Jeffrey Katzenberg, has made a small equity investment in digital-media startup Whistle Sports as part of a larger round of funding.

“We’re super excited about it – we view the world the same way they do,” said John West, founder and CEO of Whistle Sports. “As we learned more about what they were thinking about WndrCo and TV for the mobile world, we saw it as a huge alignment with Whistle Sports.”

Katzenberg, the former CEO of DreamWorks Animation, launched WndrCo earlier this year with an initial bankroll of nearly $600 million. He co-founded the company with Ann Daly and Sujay Jaswa. WndrCo (pronounced “wonder co”) is focused on short-form, mobile entertainment. The firm also has taken a stake in TYT Networks, the online political and entertainment news network that produces “The Young Turks” program.

Whistle Sports produces, curates and distributes sports content for fans worldwide, through a network of 400 independent creators. The company’s videos skew toward male viewers, and particularly among younger demos, West said, “mobile is the way they consume video.”

The size of WndrCo’s stake in Whistle Sports isn’t being disclosed; West said the investment is part of a large fundraising round that’s still in process.

Previously, Whistle Sports has landed a total of $70 million in funding. Investors in its $29 million Series C round, which closed in early 2016, included NBC Sports, Tegna and U.K.-based venture-capital firm Beringea, along with previous investors Emil Capital and Sky Sports.

Whistle Sports launched in January 2014, and says it now has an audience of 400 million across multiple platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In September, the company generated 1.5 billion views.

Whistle currently has 95 employees, based at its New York headquarters and offices in L.A. and London.

Other investors include John Malone’s Liberty Global; former New York Yankee Derek Jeter; recently retired Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning; Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia; Geraldine Laybourne, former head of Oyxgen Media and Nickelodeon; and SeventySix Capital.

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