Ted Farnsworth, the financier and former MoviePass chairman, has taken an 80% controlling interest in a rival app to TikTok, the Singapore-based short-form video platform Lomotif.
Farnsworth is teaming with early Musical.ly investor Jaeson Ma and Triller board member Vincent Butta on the acquisition on behalf of their Vinco Ventures, Inc. and ZASH Global Media and Entertainment Corporation. Together they will take an 80% controlling stake in Lomotif.
Lomotif is a video and social platform similar to TikTok that lets users share short music videos, with over 350 million videos created on the app per month and 9 billion videos created and placed on the app since it launched in 2014. The app has been growing in popularity in Asia, Europe and South America and has grown by over 600% in the last two years. The app has over 120 million lifetime creators and 160 million lifetime viewers on iOS and Android.
As part of the acquisition, Lomotif founder and CEO Paul Yang will continue to manage the company.
“They have influencers ready and we’re a natural fit. As an emerging player with a 300% increase in video creation this year, we are excited to be part of ZASH’s overall content and distribution plan and are looking forward to accelerate growth and adoption,” Yang said in a statement.
“Lomotif has become the center of the universe for all of us here at ZASH and Vinco. We could not be happier to have this powerhouse in the video-sharing short form arena as part of the Zash family,” Farnsworth said in a statement. “The numbers are staggering and this is just the beginning, as we look to expand the platform in the US market.”
“Lomotif will focus on an advertising model, as well as other means of monetization over the next several months,” Butta said in a statement. “This traction and brand integration will enable us to offer international advertisers a solid way to get in front of more consumers.”
“Lomotif’s patented technology for mixing and video editing is second to none,” Ma said in a statement. “We see their addition as an incredibly rich opportunity, unmistakably out performing any technology that we have seen.”
The acquisition of Lomotif enhances ZASH’s offering by adding a short-form video component to its overall ecosystem, as the company continues to grow a global content-centric technology company.
Farnsworth’s ZASH merged with Vinco Ventures in January 2021 and became a public company and controlling shareholder of Vinco, making it the only pure-play U.S. publicly-traded company operating in Lomotif’s space. ZASH is also building an end-to-end content and distribution ecosystem and added another social video content platform called Ficto.
MoviePass proved to be hugely disruptive in the exhibition industry by offering unlimited movie tickets for a low monthly cost. But despite rapidly attracting subscribers, the model didn’t prove sustainable, and MoviePass shut down its ticketing service in September 2019 before its parent company filed for bankruptcy in January 2020.
Investment bank BTIG represented ZASH in the buy side of the transaction and Hudson Bay Capital Management provided funding to ZASH for the acquisition. Palladium Capital served as advisor on the capital raise. The media and entertainment team led by Tom K. Ara at law firm DLA Piper LLP negotiated and advised Zash on the deal.