Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital Raises $5M from Greycroft, Others

/ Aug 6, 2014

russell_simmons1

All Def Digital, the urban culture-focused digital media company from hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, has raised $5 million in a Series A round led by Greycroft Partners.

Additional investors include Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital and E.ventures, as well as Nu Horizons, which is a fund jointly established between Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons-Leissner.

The money will go toward pursuing a lot of different goals. In addition to accelerating cross-platform growth, ADD said it’s focused on artist and talent development initiatives, original programming across comedy, music, news, and poetry, and various branded entertainment and “multi-dimensional” sponsorship opportunities. The company is also looking to expand its multi-channel network, which was launched last November.

It’s not the first time Greycroft has backed a digital video company — especially one that has its own multi-channel network. The firm has previously put money behind AwesomenessTV and Maker Studios, as well as tech startups like Vidible and Wochit.

“Alan Patricof at Greycroft is one of the most forward-looking and savvy investors in early and advanced stage companies, period,” said Russell Simmons in a statement. “Greycroft’s vantage point and network of relationships across the media landscape will be tremendously valuable to us as we grow.”

As part of Greycroft’s investment, partner Mark Terbeek is joining ADD’s board of directors.

“The opportunity to take prior learnings and build a transformative new brand, that spans video and music content, in this category, is tremendous and there’s no one better positioned than ADD to do it,” said Terbeek.

Originally launched as a YouTube channel in partnership with AwesomenessTV, ADD has since expanded operations to include an MCN as well as ADD52, a digital platform created to identify and promote emerging artists.

The company also recently named former Machinima executive Sanjay Sharma as its first president and COO.

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