Friday, July 3, 2020

Live broadcasting platform Caffeine raises $113m in Series D funding round | Music Business Worldwide

Caffeine, the live broadcasting platform that inked a multi-year exclusive partnership with Drake in February, has just raised a $113 million in a series D funding round,

The news was announced by Caffeine on Wednesday (July 1)

The funding round now values the company at over $600m, according to Bloomberg, which, citing Caffeine officials, also reports that the money will be used to “invest forms of entertainment that users can watch and engage with in real time”.

The platform will also be looking to “differentiate its programming” from the likes of established players in the field such as Twitch and YouTube, adds Bloomberg’s report.

Cox Enterprises, Fox Corporation and Sanabil Investments co-led the funding round, while existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners also participated.

In a press release, Caffeine is described as “a new kind of broadcast company focused on the creation and distribution of live, interactive entertainment”.

The company launched out of beta in November 2019 and claims to have added 2 million new registered users over the last year.

Caffeine states that the additional capital will be used “to fuel continued growth and rapid onboarding of the world’s best entertainers”.

Caffeine’s exclusive partnership with Drake in February brought Ultimate Rap League (URL) to the platform, with the opening stream “Genesis,” drawing 140,000 viewers.

Since then, according to Cafeine, “hundreds of thousands of battle rap and hip-hop fans” tune in live to its virtual battles, weekly shows, and tournaments.

Other creators who recently started streaming on Caffeine include artists Offset and Doja Cat, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, NBA stars Collin Sexton and Kyle Kuzma and gamers Cartoonz, Ohmwrecker, and Crainer.

The platform also features entertainment, gaming, and sports content from partners like Disney, ESPN, DreamHack, Riot Games, and others.

Caffeine also streams a variety of Fox Sports and entertainment content, including Big East basketball, Bundelisga soccer, Formula E races, the FOX SOUL channel, and Anidom Beyond with host and comedian Andy Richter.

Additionally, Fox Sports hosts Joy Taylor and Rachel Bonnetta stream their own weekly shows, “Joy Chat” and Bonnetta’s “Worst Cooking Show Ever.”

In 2018, 21st Century Fox invested a combined $100 million into Caffeine and a newly formed venture called Caffeine Studios that is jointly owned by FOX Sports and Caffeine.

The studio creates exclusive esports, video game, sports, and live entertainment content for Caffeine’s platform.

“Caffeine connects entertainers with world-class technology so they can create content that is authentic and connects culture and community.”

Ben Keighran, Caffeine

“Caffeine connects entertainers with world-class technology so they can create content that is authentic and connects culture and community,” said Caffeine founder and chief executive officer Ben Keighran.

“We see this week over week during URL’s live battles where tens of thousands of people are experiencing something live and new together.”Music Business Worldwide


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