Upproxx, BroBible Publisher Raises $18.5M, Boosts Video Efforts

While digital publishing hit a bit of a rough patch in the first half of 2016, investors are still bullish about the prospects for pure-play digital media companies -- or at least some of them, judging by continuing activity by venture capitalists in the space.

In the most recent development, digital publisher Woven, which owns sites targeting young men with lifestyle content including Uproxx, BroBible, and HitFix, announced that it has raised $18.5 million in a new round of funding led by WPP Ventures, part of ad holding behemoth WPP.

The new funding will help Woven increase its video production capabilities, reflecting video’s growing importance to publishers of all stripes, as well as expand coverage in content verticals including news, sports, and entertainment. In addition to WPP Ventures, the series B funding round included investments by Institutional Venture Partners and Advancit Capital, which already had stakes in Woven from past investments.

Woven didn’t disclose how much of the company the new investors own, leaving its valuation unclear. Two years ago, it raised $18 million in a round of funding that valued the company at roughly $100 million. It acquired Uproxx – which covers news, sports, pop culture and music – in 2014 and HitFix, which covers entertainment, earlier this year.

According to execs, the company has scored big with digital video, including Uproxx’s HP-sponsored series “Luminaries,” focused on innovators, which attracted over 18 million views on Facebook.

This success points to more programs featuring brand integration in future, so it’s no coincidence that WPP is involved in the latest round of funding. On that note, Woven recently announced a video partnership with Forbes for a series called Forbes Founders, focused on millennial entrepreneurs.

Woven has also produced series sponsored by Honda and MillerCoors.

Woven CEO Colin Digiaro stated: “Media is at a critical juncture, where young people watch, read, and share content they care about, across a variety of platforms and, in turn, this becomes a reflection of who they are. Having WPP as a partner brings a global view of the quickly evolving media and advertising landscape, and this perspective will be invaluable as we continue to build out Woven’s video and editorial capabilities.”

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