By Sahil Patel
Latino-focused multi-channel network MiTu has raised $10 million in Series B funding. The round was led by LA-based firm Upfront Ventures, an original investor in Maker Studios, the MCN giant that was acquired by Disney for up to $950 million.
Unlike Maker Studios, which claims more than 50,000 channels to its network, MiTu is smaller and more focused. That said, the company’s network still reaches 40 million subscribers across a roster of 1,200 creators — all of whom are actively reaching Latinos on the world’s biggest video site.
It’s this focus on the Latino demographic, as well as MiTu’s plans to expand its business beyond its YouTube MCN, which proved to be attractive to Mark Suster, managing partner of Upfront Ventures. “Having been an early and prolific investor in online video I came to the conclusion that the future will be built around strong vertical content channels,” he said in a statement. “It’s the best way that networks can attract and develop talent and that advertisers can reach large, endemic audiences.”
(Interestingly, Suster’s previous bet in the MCN space, Maker Studios, while being more diverse in terms of the number and type of people it reaches, has also shifted its strategy to focus on different content verticals within its network.)
“We are looking at our business as a macro/demographic/societal play, rather than just a YouTube play,” says Doug Greiff, co-founder and chief creative officer at MiTu. “Compared to other groups, Hispanics are flocking to the web for entertainment content at a much higher rate.”
As a result, MiTu is building owned-and-operated web properties and mobile apps, which this funding will go toward. The company will also use the money to expand its engineering and sales teams.
With a robust multi-platform network, MiTu would be able to develop popular IP as well as the “next-generation” of stars for the content-hungry Latino community. Both are things that advertisers, networks, and studios are looking for, but don’t necessarily know where to find, says Greiff.
To support this initiative, the company will also direct the Series B fund to building production facilities in Los Angeles and Mexico City, where Greiff claims the network already has a “large presence.”
MiTu produces and distributes programming across categories like beauty, food, DIY, home, and health, and has recently started to expand its footprint into traditional entertainment. Earlier this year, MiTu closed a deal with cable-news channel HLN to produce a late-night TV show based on its online variety series “El Show with Chuey Martinez.”
Other backers in MiTu include The Chernin Group and Allen DeBevoise.*
*Allen DeBevoise is an investor in VideoInk.
This article has been updated to include commentary from Doug Greiff.