Streaming startup VENN — the Video Game Entertainment and News Network — has closed a $26 million Series A financing round to expand its audience.
The latest round of funding brings VENN to a total of $43 million raised, and was led by Nexstar Media Group and esports and gaming fund Bitkraft. Josh Kroenke, vice chairman of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment — which owns Los Angeles Rams and Denver Nuggets — was among the other contributors.
VENN — which launched in August — is a live 24/7 streaming network for gaming and entertainment. It is available on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Gaming, Twitter, Plex, LG Tvs through Comcast’s Xumo device, Roku’s Roku Channel Samsung TV plus and Vizio TVs.
With its investment, Nexstar, which operates 197 local stations and over 100 local news sites, will get exclusive local TV broadcasting rights and the right to appoint a member to VENN’s board of directors.
“Gaming and esports are two fast-growing sectors and through our investment we plan to distribute VENN content across our broadcast platform to address a younger audience,” Nexstar President, COO and CFO Tom Carter said in a statement.
VENN was founded in 2018 by gaming industry veteran Ben Kusin and former Riot Games and NBC Sports executive Ariel Horn.
“With this new funding round, VENN is positioned for its next phase of growth as we plan to further expand our content creation capabilities and continue to enhance the distribution of our ‘instant and everywhere’ viewing experience,” Kusin said in a statement.
VENN also announced that it is bringing on Jeff Jacobs, a former MTV and Viacom executive, as EVP and general manager.