Nexstar Media Group leads esports startup’s latest funding round.
- Bitkraft, Eldridge Industries, WISE Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group and Josh Kroenke among investors
- Nexstar’s local US stations to carry Venn programming as part of strategic investment
- Total raised by LA-based gaming network to date hits US$43m; MTV exec Jeff Jacobs joins company
Gaming-focused TV network Venn has secured a further US$26 million in fresh capital as part of a Series A funding round led by broadcaster Nexstar Media Group and esports investment fund Bitkraft.
The new funding takes the total raised by the Los Angeles-based media company, which was founded in 2018 but officially launched this August, to US$43 million.
Bitkraft is an existing investor in Venn having participated in the company’s seed funding round. Other investors in the latest round include Eldridge Industries, WISE Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group and Josh Kroenke, the vice chairman of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment.
In addition to its strategic investment in Venn, Nexstar, which operates close to 200 TV stations in the US, has struck an exclusive local broadcasting deal to carry the company’s 24-hour linear network, while it will also have representation on Venn’s board of directors.
Founded by gaming entrepreneur Ben Kusin and Ariel Horn, a former Riot Games and NBC Sports executive, Venn’s network is available on a range of social media and streaming platforms, including Twitch, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook Gaming.
“With this new funding round, Venn is positioned for its next phase of growth as we plan to further expand our content creation capabilities and continue to enhance the distribution of our ‘instant and everywhere’ viewing experience,” Kusin said in a statement.
“We’re proud to welcome Nexstar as an important strategic investor and exclusive local television partner as we leverage the national reach of their 197 television stations, related digital multicast signals, and expansive digital properties with over 100 million MAU [monthly active users] and one billion monthly page views in the United States.”
Confirmation of Venn’s latest funding round coincided with the news that former MTV executive Jeff Jacobs is joining the company as executive vice president and general manager.