Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Another Big-Media YouTube Bet: Bertelsmann Invests in StyleHaul’s Fashion Videos

Here’s another Big Media company investing in YouTube: StyleHaul, which makes and distributes fashion videos on the world’s biggest video site, has raised a $6.5 million B round led by Bertelsmann’s Digital Media Investments arm.

Earlier investors — including RezVen Partners, who put $4.4 million into the company last year — are back as well. CEO Stephanie Horbaczewski, a former Saks Fifth Avenue executive who founded StyleHaul two years ago, says her videos now reach 50 million viewers a month.

StyleHaul is one of several YouTube-focused video networks that have sprung up in recent years that produce their own content and aggregate many clips by amateurs and semi-professionals, as well.

That’s the technique, for instance, that Machinima has used to generate billions of views for its videogame clips. It’s not a coincidence that Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise is a StyleHaul investor.

Many of these “multi-channel networks” (terrible name, but it might stick) are now also looking to build businesses outside of YouTube, and StyleHaul is on that path, too.

Horbaczewski says she’ll use the money to build out her direct-sales team, and to build her own destination site; earlier this week, she hired former Yahoo executive Alvin Fong as her COO.

At a minimum, you can see the investment as another sign that lots of big-media players are trying to get their heads around YouTube as well as lay some bets on the site.

Last year, Time Warner led a $36 million round for Maker Studios, another YouTube network, and Google itself invested directly in Machinima. Google currently has an investment teed up, but not closed, in Vevo, YouTube’s dominant music-video channel.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google