“Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara has teamed up with former Shine Americas CEO Emiliano Calemzuk and Latin World Entertainment Founder Luis Balaguer to launch Raze, a digital media company focused on the multicultural younger generation, with a heavy emphasis on Latinos.
Raze currently develops programming for traditional networks and digital providers, such as Univision, and will be introducing its own mobile video focused destination containing news, lifestyle and beauty content.
The Raze founders also announced they have closed a Series A investment round from Greycroft Partners, Raine Ventures and UTA. Brent Weinstein, a partner at UTA and its head of digital media division and Greycroft partner Mark Terbeek have joined Raze’s board. UTA and Ziffren Brittenham LLP are founding partners and advisers to the company.
Raze’s first show, “Her Name Was Dolores — The Jenni I Knew,” which tells the story of late singer Jenni Rivera and was produced in partnership with BTF and Dhana Media, premiered on Univision on Jan. 15. The company has several additional shows in development, including a scripted series based on the life of Argentina soccer legend Diego Maradona and a young adult drama based on “Mi Hermanastro” (My Stepbrother), a novel posted on internet literary site Wattpad which has been downloaded more than 22 million times.
“When we began talking about what a modern media company with a Latin edge would look like, it was clear that we had a significant opportunity to create something new and fresh,” co-founder Calemzuk, who will serve as Raze’s CEO, said in a statement. “With such a stellar group of accomplished partners, we are in a unique position to do exactly that on a large scale. It is rewarding to be creating stories that reflect the broad array of experiences that Latinos have in the United States and we want Raze to be the home for programming that serves this growing culture.”
“With talent connecting directly with audiences, we have an opportunity to provide a unique and fresh platform to a new generation of mobile-first users that consume video stories with a hearty appetite,” co-founder Balaguer said in the statement. “Raze will be a great tool for advertisers and products to connect with transforming Latino audiences, and will benefit from the shifting of audiences from traditional platforms to mobile video.”
“The U.S. Hispanic audience is one of the fastest growing and important demographics for programmers and advertisers, and we jumped at the opportunity to work with Sofia, Luis and Emiliano to build a dynamic new media company to create and deliver premium programming to that key demographic,” Weinstein continued.
“We are very excited to partner with the Raze team and believe this is a unique opportunity to build an important new media business in the Latin market,” Terbeek said in the statement. “The team has a proven ability to create valuable content franchises that resonate with audiences worldwide, and they have developed unparalleled talent relationships in their segment over the last few decades which would be practically impossible to replicate.”