VENN Appoints Jeff Jacobs as EVP & General Manager, Secures $26 Million of Series A Financing
VENN, the live 24/7 streaming network for gaming and entertainment, is bolstering its leadership team with the addition of Jeff Jacobs as EVP & General Manager. In addition, the company has closed a $26 million Series A financing.
“VENN is led by a team with deep experience in gaming and cable television. Jeff’s the latest talented leader to join our group, and he’s brought incredible value already in such a short period of time. He will play a significant role in the continuation of our network’s growth plan and content,” says Ben Kusin, VENN’s co-founder and co-CEO. “Our premium programming, unparalleled production expertise, technology, studio build, and intimate market knowledge strongly positions VENN as a major player in gaming’s total addressable market.”
Jacobs joins VENN from Viacom’s MTV and MTV Music and Entertainment Group, where he served as Executive in Charge of Production at MTV. Later, he became SVP Production Planning, Strategies and Operations for Viacom Media Networks’ Music and Entertainment Group’s linear and digital channels. Jacobs will concentrate on VENN’s growth and expansion while overseeing content and business operations.
Most recently, Jacobs had been running a third-party production company which he co-founded and whose clients included Viacom, the NBA, Global Citizen and ACE Universe. That company was recently sold to EY-tech. Jacobs also ran production, digital and operations at NBC Sports and Olympics prior to joining Viacom.
Series A Funding
The round was co-led by Seed round investor BITKRAFT and new investor Nexstar Media Group. Eldridge, WISE Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group, Josh Kroenke (Vice Chair of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment), and the majority of the existing Series Seed investor group also participated in the round. Under the terms of its investment, Nexstar secured content and sales category exclusivity for local television broadcasting and has the right to appoint a member to VENN’s Board of Directors.
“With this new funding round, VENN is positioned for its next phase of growth as we plan to further expand our content creation capabilities and continue to enhance the distribution of our ‘instant and everywhere’ viewing experience,” said Kusin. “We’re proud to welcome Nexstar as an important strategic investor and exclusive local television partner as we leverage the national reach of their 197 television stations, related digital multicast signals, and expansive digital properties with over 100M MAU and 1B monthly page views in the United States.”
The series A close and leadership team expansion arrives as VENN is rapidly expanding its distribution network, led by the recent addition of its largest US distributor to date, The Roku Channel. With 40 million active accounts and built-in capabilities in roughly one third of all smart TVs sold, The Roku Channel enables VENN to reach a broader streaming audience.
“VENN is a new kind of TV network built for the streaming and digital generation, and it’s developing leading-edge content for the millennial and Gen Z cultures who are obsessed with gaming,” says Nexstar Media Group President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Thomas E. Carter. “Gaming and esports are two fast growing sectors and through our investment we plan to distribute VENN content across our broadcast platform to address a younger audience; utilize VENN to gain early access to gaming-adjacent content; and present local and national brands with broadcast and digital marketing and advertising opportunities to reach younger audiences.”