Summary List Placement
It was a busy week for audio and gaming startups.
Podcorn, which runs a creator marketplace for podcasters, was acquired by Entercom in a deal that valued the upstart at $22.5 million. Short-form video app Triller acquired Timbaland’s and Swizz Beat’s livestream music platform, Verzuz. And Songclip, a music licensing company that works with social apps, raised $11 million in new funding.
On the gaming front, esports company ReKTGlobal acquired the TikTok talent firm TalentX Entertainment for an undisclosed sum. And Roblox’s stock closed at $69.50 per share during its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
In other news, Reddit onboarded Snap’s former CFO Drew Vollero to lead its finance team as the social-media app eyes its own public offering.
Every Friday, Insider gives a rundown of news on hires, promotions, and other creator company announcements from the past week. Are we missing anything? Let us know.
New hires, promotions, and departures
- Drew Vollero joins Reddit as the company’s first chief financial officer. Vollero previously held the same title at the security firm Allied Universal. Prior to his role at Allied, Vollero was CFO at Snap where he guided the company through its initial public offering.
- Marketing agency BEN is promoting Vanessa McCullers to vice president, DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and strategy. Most recently, McCullers served as the company’s director of strategy and business development for its product placement division. “Vanessa will lead BEN’s efforts to drive equity and inclusion both within the company and throughout the wider influencer and entertainment industries,” the company said.
- Helen Estabrook is the new head of development and production for features and scripted series at Condé Nast Entertainment. One focus area for Estabrook will be YouTube, where the company said it added over 10 million subscribers last year.
- Mika Deshmukh joins Gen-Z marketing and consulting firm JUV as its first senior account director. Deshmukh previously worked at the ad agency Ogilvy.
- Sofia Gross was promoted to a new role at Snap as the company’s first head of policy partnerships and social impact. She previously served as a public policy manager at the company.
- Allie Long, a soccer pro who plays midfield on the Tacoma-based OL Reign and US Women’s National Team, is joining the advisory board of the female-led gaming and esports brand, Queens Gaming Collective. “I want females to feel empowered to do whatever they want to do, especially in a male-dominated space like gaming,” Long said in a statement.
- Allison Stern, who cofounded the social-video analytics company Tubular Labs, is joining the investment firm The Chernin Group as an operating partner, Tubefilter reported.
New talent signings
- CAA signed Twitch streamer Jessica Blevins, who is the wife and manager of gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Variety first reported. Jessica Blevins has around 460,000 followers on Twitch where she plays games like Dead Space, Fall Guys, and Pokémon.
- Underscore Talent signed the YouTube creator group Shiloh & Bros, who have 1.8 million subscribers on the platform, Tubefilter reported.
- Esports organization 100 Thieves added Twitch streamer AustinShow (1.3 million Twitch followers) to its roster of content creators.
New creator economy M&A and funding
- Esports startup ReKTGlobal acquired TikTok-focused talent-management firm TalentX Entertainment in an undisclosed equity deal.”We view ourselves as a Gen-Z media and marketing company at this point,” ReKT’s CEO Dave Bialek told Insider. “That is where the relationship with TalentX has really blossomed.”
- Broadcasting company Entercom acquired the podcast creator marketplace Podcorn in a deal valued at $22.5 million. The purchase includes an upfront cash payment of $14.6 million and a performance-based earnout over the next three years, the company said.
- Short-form video app Triller acquired Verzuz, a livestreaming music platform founded by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, for an undisclosed sum, Billboard first reported.
- Olive Hill Media is financing a documentary about TikTok with Wheelhouse Entertainment’s Campfire and Forbes Entertainment, Variety reported.
- Songclip, a tech startup that enables music licensing in social-media apps, raised $11 million in new funding in a round led by Evolution VC Partners. Other participants included Forefront Venture Partners, The Kraft Group, Raised in Space, Gaingels, and Michael Rubin.
- Roblox made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange via a direct listing yesterday.
Read last week’s creator economy updates, here.
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