Night Ventures, a new $20 million Dallas-based venture fund, is going off the rails—in a good way. General Partner Ben Matthews believes today’s creators are often blocked by the big four owners of the “rails” for customer acquisition and marketing: Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Night Ventures is investing in founders by targeting a different, cutting-edge rail to growth: the creator economy.
Night Ventures’ most recent play: joining a $6M seed round for landing page builder Beacons. Beacons gives social media users a single mobile-optimized link hub for their followers to use. Linking directly from TikTok, Twitter, or Instagram profiles, Beacons can point followers toward potential income streams, the company said in a release. The seed round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, was also joined by Atelier Ventures, The Chainsmokers’ Mantis Fund, and LOUDgg, the Brazilian esports group.
Night Ventures was launched in March by Reed Duchscher, founder and CEO of Night Media, a multimedia talent management company for superstar influencers who collectively get over two billion monthly views, according to its website. Its superstars include MrBeast (aka 23-year-old Jimmy Donaldson, total reach 122,342,174), Preston, Unspeakable, Brianna, LankyBox, Typical Gamer, and more.
Along with Matthews, Night Ventures’ leadership team includes General Partner Ezra Cooperstein, president of Night Media. The fund lists its LPs as “50+ of the top creators in the world across YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, and elsewhere.”
Targeting the creator economy
Duchscher calls Night Media “a multimedia company and collaborative outpost for dreamers and thinkers.” With his new fund Night Ventures, he’s dreaming of something else: scoring big in the creator economy.
Backed by his superstar influencers’ capital commitments, Duchscher planned at launch to write initial checks of up to $300,000 into three categories, according to TechCrunch: consumer startups; gaming startups, and the creator economy at large—including startups that support it.
In March, Night Ventures joined a $5 million pre-Series A round for Lolli, a Bitcoin rewards company. Other investors included VC fund Seven Seven Six, and Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures, and influencers including Casey Neistat, Phil DeFranco, Cody Ko, and more.
Earlier this month, Night Ventures joined a $19 million Series A funding round for NFT platform Bitski, which calls itself the “Shopify for NFTs.” That round was also led by Andreessen Horowitz; other investors included Serena Williams and Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners.
An influential portfolio
Also in Night Ventures’ portfolio: sports cards trading platform Alt; NFT marketplace Zora; creator monetization startup PearPop; consumer fintech Yotta Bank; luxury goods brand Italic; social video tool Pinata Farms; and spirituality platform Hey Hero, among others.
Night Ventures sees itself as “a new brand of venture capital,” according to its website. “We specialize in influence—understanding what’s popular, what’s trending, and how to acquire more customers/fans of your product. We invest in the best teams in consumer, fintech, SaaS, crypto, and health—any company where customer acquisition is the gating factor.”
NFTs continue to be a key focus for both Night Ventures and Night Media. Last month Night Media announced a partnership with viral video distributor Jukin Media to launch Views, a service that helps creators make and auction off non-fungible tokens based on their own content.
“YouTube videos such as David After Dentist, Pizza Rat, or OK Boomer are some of the most important pieces of internet history,” Night Media President Ezra Cooperstein told Forbes. “We envision Views will become the go-to NFT platform for creators and fans to celebrate these iconic videos.”
Creator Economics podcast
If you want to hear more from Reed Duchscher, there’s actually a podcast for that: Creator Economics, hosted by Duchscher and Blake Robbins, VC at Ludlow Ventures. Topics include “Why Influencers Should Choose Equity vs Cash,” “Li Jin Explains How Creators Only Need 100 True Fans,” and “Coinbase Co-Founder Fred Ehrsam on the Future of NFTs and Bitcoin.”
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