LOS ANGELES, March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Pocketwatch, a media brand that creates, acquires, distributes and curates content for kids age 2-11 and presents it across a variety of platforms, today announced the closing of $6M in Series A funding led by Third Wave Digital with participation from additional investors and prominent angels including Les Moonves (Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation), Jon Landau (Academy Award Winning Producer of Avatar & Titanic), United Talent Agency (UTA), Robert Downey Jr. (Downey Ventures) and Chris Jacquemin (Partner, Head of Digital Media, WME). Led by Chris M. Williams, CEO, Albie Hecht, Chief Content Officer, and Jon Moonves, Chief Strategy Officer, Pocketwatch's first round of financing will be used to build out the company's media channels on platforms including YouTube, develop a slate of new premium franchises and attract creator partners.
"Pocketwatch's mission is to create the ultimate headquarters for kids in a vast entertainment universe, that will celebrate all the stuff kids love," said Chris M. Williams, CEO and founder of Pocketwatch. "Having spent five out of the last 10 years at Disney, I've seen first-hand how challenging it can be for traditional kids media companies to embrace new business models. By bringing together a team of visionaries responsible for developing and producing some of the most beloved kids franchises in history and combining them with digital natives, creators and experts known for creating short-form videos consumed by millions of kids, Pocketwatch is creating a new blueprint for a multiplatform entertainment company."
Pocketwatch brings together a world-class team of studio heads, chief content officers and digital strategists, known for developing and producing IP that has been celebrated by children for years. These executives include Chris M. Williams, the former chief audience officer at Maker Studios, GM of Disney Online Originals and one of the first 100 at Yahoo!, Albie Hecht, the former head of Nickelodeon, responsible for the development of incredibly popular franchises like SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer, Jon Moonves, a leading entertainment dealmaker who has significant experience managing the transition to a digital world representing top creators, as well as Apple and the NFL in some of their digital content initiatives, and David B. Williams, the former chief content and technology strategist at Endemol Beyond USA and an early digital entrepreneur. Consulting exclusively in the kids' vertical for the company is Matt Geilen, founder of Little Monster Media Co. and the former VP of programming and audience development at Federator Networks.
"There is no other founding team or company better positioned to transform the kids' digital entertainment space than Pocketwatch," said Allen DeBevoise, Third Wave Digital. "With its innovative model and venture capital approach to fundraising, focusing first on content and brand development while growing distribution across all platforms, Pocketwatch is taking a really disruptive approach to attacking the white space in the ever expanding kids' entertainment marketplace."
Children are shifting to mobile devices for their video consumption at an accelerating rate with 72 percent of kids' daily viewing now taking place on streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix*. In January, kids content accounted for 5 out of the top 10 U.S. channels on YouTube, and over 53% of total views.
To maximize its ability to reach these audiences with authentic, creative content, the company will partner with a small group of prominent kid content creators across all platforms, including those with large audiences on YouTube. Unlike other companies, Pocketwatch will grant a significant amount of equity to these creator partners in order to promote alignment between their interests and those of the company.
Pocketwatch will officially launch to consumers this Summer under the Pocketwatch brand targeting kids age five to eleven with additional brands aimed at pre-school and parents rolling out later this year.
For more information about Pocketwatch and a more comprehensive list of investors, please visit: http://pocket.watch
*DHX/Ipsos survey, September 2016
Pocketwatch is a media brand that creates, acquires, distributes and curates entertainment for kids ages 2-11 and presents it across a variety of platforms. The company was founded in March 2017 in Culver City, CA where it maintains an office and studio. The team is made up of studio veterans and visionaries from traditional and digital entertainment. Investors include Third Wave Digital and United Talent Agency (UTA), as well as notable strategic angels including Les Moonves, Robert Downey Jr. (Team Downey) and Jon Landau.
About Third Wave Digital
Third Wave Digital was founded by Allen DeBevoise in 2014 to provide start-up capital to exceptional early-stage media and technology entrepreneurs addressing explosive opportunities in digital media distribution, programming and technology. Based in Los Angeles, Third Wave Digital is committed to helping the best and most ambitious third wave technologies and programming brands develop and grow into tomorrow's major media companies.
Sunshine Sachs on behalf of Pocketwatch