Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Movieclips Will Now Star as Zefr, Adding $18.5 Million in New Funding for Category Expansion

Movieclips — a niche video catalog site launched in 2009 that shifted to focusing on helping movie studios collect and monetize fan and professional postings on YouTube — is changing its name to Zefr as it adds sports, television and music videos to its content network.

In addition, the Venice, Calif.-based start-up said it had also raised $18.5 million in a third funding round led by U.S. Venture Partners.

The company previously known as Movieclips had already raised $10 million from lead venture firms, Shasta Ventures, MK Capital and First Round Capital, for its curation efforts.

Movieclips/Zefr had used that initial cash to develop a proprietary technology it offered to studios to identify, claim, tag and assemble licensed content that is widely posted on YouTube by studios as well as innumerable others.

It is then monetized for the six major Hollywood studios that have partnered with Movieclips, offering advertisers a larger network of the premium movie clips.

The company said it now has 600 million monthly views, 25,000 movie clips and three billion total lifetime views on YouTube.

Here’s the video interview I did earlier this week with Movieclips/Zefr co-founders Zach James and Richard Raddon about the new direction:

And here is the official press release about the name change and funding:

MOVIECLIPS UNVEILS NEW NAME “ZEFR” TO REFLECT EXPANSION BEYOND MOVIES INTO MUSIC, SPORTS AND TELEVISION

Company Secures $18.5 Million Series C Financing Led by U.S. Venture Partners

VENICE, CALIF., August 15, 2012 – MOVIECLIPS, a premium content network and one of the most watched YouTube channels, announced today the rebranding of MOVIECLIPS as ZEFR which will include additional content categories as the company continues to grow. Having completed the movie category on YouTube with partnerships with six major Hollywood studios, ZEFR will expand the company’s content beginning with television, music and sports. With more than 600 million monthly views, 25,000 movie clips and 3 billion total lifetime views all within 10 months of launch, ZEFR is already the premier content network on YouTube.

In addition, the company has announced that it has raised $18.5 million in Series C financing, led by U.S. Venture Partners with participation from existing investors MK Capital, Shasta Ventures, SoftTech VC, First Round Capital, Richmond Park Partners, and Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise. John Hadl of U.S. Venture Partners will join the board. The new capital will be used to drive the company’s rapid growth in its new music, sports and television verticals, expand internationally and invest in new technology.

“As movie fans ourselves, this was a logical place for us to focus when we set out to create a content network,” said Zach James, co-founder, ZEFR. “Since then, we have built a network that brings the best movie content in the world to YouTube — something we believe has significant value for consumers and advertisers alike. Having U.S. Venture Partners join us at this milestone will further fuel our growth and expansion.”

Founded by Zach James and Richard Raddon in 2009, ZEFR has quickly become one of the most watched YouTube channels as a top 10 comScore property, making it one of the fastest growing networks ever. ZEFR’s technology identifies and claims licensed content so that it can be monetized, while also allowing advertisers to buy against the most premium movie content online. A portion of the new funding will be dedicated to developing additional technology tools for ZEFR and its partners.

“U.S. Venture Partners feels fortunate to be joining the ZEFR team,” said John Hadl of U.S. Venture Partners. “ZEFR has built a set of tools and technology that enable stronger partnerships and drives value for media and entertainment companies and YouTube. ZEFR’s growth has been explosive and this infusion of capital will help the company scale to meet the considerable market demand.”


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