After three years of leading the company as CEO, All Def Digital’s (ADD) Sanjay Sharma is leaving to start his own digital venture. For the new venture Sharma has lined up seed financing from investors including Russell Simmons (ADD’s Chairman), and existing investors in All Def Digital.
Despite stepping down as CEO, Sharma will remain on the board of ADD and will act as a senior adviser to Simmons, while Osman Eralp, Simmons’ long-standing business partner, will run day-to-day operations of the company.
According to insiders on the situation, Sharma told All Def Digital’s employees about his plans to leave at an all-hands meeting a few weeks ago.
During his time spent at ADD, Sharma helped the company branch out into traditional TV and premium original series including a first-look production and development deal with HBO and a half-hour comedy special for YouTube Red called “Snap!,” from comedy troupe Dormtainment.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished at All Def in just three years…” said Sharma in a statement. “It’s a great time to be in media and technology and, with All Def now firmly established within the industry, I felt it was the right time for me to start my next venture, while still partnering closely with Russell and the All Def team.”
Before being recruited by ADD in 2014, Sharma spent five years at fandom-focused network Machinima as EVP of strategy and business development. Prior to Machima, he worked in the business and legal affairs department at Warner Bros. Pictures.
Aside from possible investors, Sharma has kept the details on his new venture under wraps.