Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital Snags $10M in Financing

Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons

Congrats to Russell Simmons! His All Def Digital ALL DEF DIGITAL, INC. (ADD) announced today it has raised $10 million in a Series B financing led by Third Wave Digital Partners. Other investors in the round include WPP through WPP Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as all of ADD’s existing investors: Nu Horizons, Greycroft Partners, eVentures and Advancit Capital. The announcement was jointly made by ADD Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Sharma and co-founder and Chairman Russell Simmons.

The fastest growing media brand in urban youth programming, touching over 100 million fans monthly across YouTube and Facebook, ADD’s growth is also punctuated by industry-leading engagement and video retention metrics.

ADD produces and distributes original content through its own media properties, social channels, premium television, theatrical motion pictures, live events, and multi-faceted brand partnerships through its newly established in-house creative agency, ADHD. ADD also operates a curated network of emerging and established talent including social video stars, stand-up comics, writers, actors, poets and hip hop recording artists.

“For the next phase of growth, we chose investors who understand what we are building at All Def across all media – from digital series to live events, from Facebook to premium series and feature films,” said Russell Simmons, co-founder of ADD. “We chose partners who understand the value of our consumer brand, our talent relationships and fans, and the white space we’re filling”

“Our partners – the most important and influential firms in media, marketing and technology – share our vision that cultural and demographic shifts, coupled with the massive disruption of the traditional media industry by online video, social and mobile, create a singular opportunity for us to create a new class of data oriented media business,” said Sanjay Sharma, ADD’s CEO. “Hip hop is a global cultural movement touching all aspects of life, from music to art to fashion, to language itself, and at the very heart of youth culture. Millennials and Gen Z are the most demographically diverse cohorts in history, incredibly influential and equally hard to reach through traditional media.”

The financing will accelerate the Company’s rapidly scaling cross-platform audience growth and distribution efforts, its original programming in comedy, music, sports, news and poetry, as well as branded entertainment and multi-dimensional sponsorships. The company’s brand marketing efforts have been growing quickly through its ADHD agency division, now partnering with consumer electronics brands, car makers, beverages, major motion picture studios and more.

ADD is producing a number of new cross-platform programming franchises that span digital, social video, live events and television. The company has expanded its long-term collaboration with HBO to include a first-look deal with the premium cable channel. ADD is currently in pre-production on All Def Comedy Live for HBO, which will introduce audiences to a new generation of comedic talent and scheduled to air this Fall. It recently announced its expansion into music programming through a launch partnership with Spotify, part of the premium music service’s entry into original video programming. ADD also has closed a partnership with Seeso, NBCU’s direct-to-consumer over the top subscription app for comedic programming, as well as a partnership with Fusion TV, Univision’s cable and digital network focused on diverse millennials, for the All Def Movie Awards. The company recently announced its latest franchise, the All Def Comedy Roast, the first of which will be produced later this year and feature Snoop Dogg as the inaugural guest of honor. The company’s early expansion into social justice programming includes its first Town Hall series, hosted by Melissa Harris Perry and Nick Cannon, which was released exclusively through Facebook Live.

Investors in the company include some of the most important names in digital media, technology, brand marketing, and entertainment today. Third Wave Digital Partners’ Allen DeBevoise founded the VC firm after more than 30 years’ experience building and investing in digital media companies. He has invested in over 70 startups including AwesomenessTV, Tastemade, StyleHaul, MiTu, Vessel, WeVr, Jukin Media and Tubular Labs, to name a few. [PR Newswire]

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Authored by: Kellie Williams