Gaming Network VENN Secures $26M Series A Funding, Hires MTV Exec

Published by Forbes on October 22, 2020

VENN, the 24/7 gaming and esports streaming network, today announced a successful series A funding round that has brought in $26 million to the company.

The round was co-led by Seed round investor BITKRAFT and new investor Nexstar Media Group, Inc. with 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 being involved.

As part of the investment into VENN, Nexstar Media Group, Inc secured content and sales category exclusivity for local television broadcasting, and will also appoint a member to the VENN 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 Ben Kusin, VENN’s co-founder and co-CEO.  “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.”

“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,” added 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.”

Alongside the announcement of the funding round VENN also announced the hiring of Jeff Jacobs as EVP & General Manager. Jacobs formerly worked as the Executive in Charge of Production at MTV, and will now be focusing on growing VENN while overseeing content and business operations.

“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,” added Kusin. “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.”

The news comes as VENN is rapidly expanding its reach across the country. It recently launched on the Roku Channel, which has over 40 million active accounts and is also available on services such as PLEX and onto Samsung and LG smart TVs.

Despite being a relatively new network VENN is rapidly becoming a major player when it comes to gaming and esports content. The overall reaction to the network has been positive from the gaming community, and a number of high profile advertisers such as Subway and Adidas have already signed deals with VENN.