All Def Digital (ADD) said today that it has closed a $10 million funding round led by venture capital firm Third Wave Digital. Other participants in the round included WPP Ventures (the investment arm of British advertising goliath WPP) and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as existing investors Nu Horizons, Greycroft Partners, eVentures, and Advancit Capital. This brings total funds raised by the Russell Simmons co-founded digital media company to $15 million.
“For the next phase of growth, we chose investors who understand what we are building at All Def across all media,” Simmons said in a statement, “from digital series to live events, from Facebook to premium series and feature films.” ADD, which says it aims to capture urban-centric youth culture, boasts 100 million fans across YouTube and Facebook. It also recently launched a branded content studio called ADHD, which has partnered with consumer electronics brands, car and beverage makers, and movie studios.
New funds will be used to scale cross-platform growth, and will be allocated toward original programming in comedy, music, sports, news, and poetry, ADD said. It will also help to accelerate branded and sponsored content initiatives.
“Hip hop is a global cultural movement touching all aspects of life — from music to art to fashion to language itself,” noted CEO Sanjay Sharma of ADD’s unique opportunity. “Millennials and Gen Z are the most demographically diverse cohorts in history — incredibly influential and equally hard to reach through traditional media.”
ADD produces and distributes digital, television, theatrical, live, and branded content, and also houses a talent network comprising social stars, stand-up comics, writers, actors, poets, and hip hop artists. The network is creating content for distribution outlets such as HBO, Spotify, Seeso, and Fusion TV. Most recently, ADD said a new franchise, the All Def Comedy Roast — kicking off with honoree Snoop Dogg — will arrive later this year. It also forayed into social justice programming earlier this month with a Town Hall about criminal justice and police reform on Facebook Live hosted by Melissa Harris Perry and Nick Cannon.