By Sahil Patel
Woven Digital is the latest digital publisher to raise serious venture capital money.
The company, which operates male-focused websites and entertainment properties like BroBible and Uproxx, has raised $18 million in a Series A round led by Institutional Venture Partners, with additional contributions from United Talent Agency and Advancit Capital.
The money will go toward building Woven’s editorial and sales teams, continued development of its technology and publishing platforms, and increasing video production via its in-house Woven Studios unit.
Currently, Woven Studios focuses on producing branded video content. Previously, clients have ranged from Sony Pictures Entertainment and Comedy Central to MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch.
In 2015, Woven will move forward with its video strategy by producing original series and other forms of episodic content. It begins with the launch of its first three series: “Luminaries,” which will document millennials around the world working to fix problems in their communities; “Uncharted,” which will profile emerging music stars; and “Underbelly,” which will cover illegal sports like underground fighting and street racing.
Woven’s funding comes at a time when a lot of money is being poured into digital publishing. Just in the last few months, Vice Media raised $500 million, BuzzFeed raised $50 million, and Vox Media raised $46.5 million. A common theme among all of these investments: the intention for each publisher to grow its video business, online and — in the case of Vice and BuzzFeed — across traditional media as well.
As part of IVP’s investment in Woven, the firm’s Somesh Dash will join the publisher’s board of directors. IVP’s previous entertainment/tech investments include Netflix, Twitter, and Zefr.
In addition to IVP and UTA, MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe and Buddy Media co-founder Michael Lazerow also invested in Woven Digital. As did the San Francisco 49ers and former NBA players Baron Davis and Jermaine O’Neal, with the intention of helping Woven grow its sports vertical.
In total, across 11 media properties, Woven Digital claims to reach 90 million visitors per month. In April, Woven acquired the entertainment news site Uproxx, which alone counts for 26 million uniques per month. In 2010, the publisher had raised $5.5 million in a seed round.