Josh Richards, Michael Gruen Team With Mark Wahlberg To Launch Gen Z Content Studio CrossCheck

By 02/23/2021
Josh Richards, Michael Gruen Team With Mark Wahlberg To Launch Gen Z Content Studio CrossCheck

Sway House TikToker and TalentX cofounder Josh Richards has teamed up with Mark Wahlberg’s production company Unrealistic Ideas to launch his own studio focused on content for Gen Z.

Joining Richards on the CrossCheck Studios team is fellow TalentX cofounder (and its VP of talent) Michael Gruen, who will serve as the new venture’s president. Richards, who’s 19 and has more than 24 million followers on TikTok, is CEO.

CrossCheck Studios has “already put together a full slate of material and is continuing to actively scout new projects,” it says. It currently is not releasing details about the slate, but says its general content goal is to become the “premier venue for internet-native creators.”

Unrealistic Ideas–run by Walhberg, his longtime manager/producer Stephen Levinson, and filmmaker Archie Gips–will support CrossCheck by providing development and production resources, it says.

“I am impressed with Josh and all of the things he’s already accomplished,” Wahlberg said in a statement. “We are looking forward to being in business with him and joining forces with CrossCheck Studios.”

In his own statement, Richards said, “It’s an honor to partner with Mark Wahlberg and the team at Unrealistic Ideas. This is a real passion project for me that I’m going to pour my heart and soul into. We’re going to have a lot of fun along the way and build something great together.”

This is far from Richards’ first foray into entrepreneurship. Over the past year, he–often in tandem with Gruen and Sway House members Bryce Hall, Griffin Johnson, and Noah Beck–has invested in a variety of companies, including TikTok competitor Triller, the Versus Game app, probiotic soda Poppi, technology company Karat, 3-D printer business AON3D, faux fur brand UnHide, home-building tech company Atmos, esports org ReKTGlobal, financial business Lendtable, analytics platform Chalk, and Stir, a startup that makes tools for digital content creators.

Richards also launched energy drink brand Ani and, earlier this month, bought a stake in nostalgic kids’ brand Sillybandz ahead of its upcoming relaunch.