Maker Studios co-founder and former CEO Danny Zappin just raised $25 million to build a “digital-first media company and growth accelerator.” The company, called Zealot Networks, is rather mum on exactly what they will be doing with all that capital, but considering Zappin’s former work with YouTube talent, it is fair to assume the venture will involve YouTube or similar video content.
“With Zealot, I’m pursuing my greater vision of empowering creative individuals with a new focus on entrepreneurs, distribution and emerging platforms,” said Zappin in a statement. “We’re operating in multiple passion-based verticals, building zealous audiences and providing services for companies, brands and talent across multiple platforms to help them realize their business visions and creative passions."
Zappin’s mention of multiple verticals may indicate the company will be venturing outside YouTube to mediums like Vine and Instagram, though it could just as well include YouTube-like videos hosted on a proprietary website. There is also a lot of potential value in producing and bundling Vine, Instagram and YouTube under one roof, if Zappin decided to go down the MCN route again. Many stars on YouTube have appeal on other mediums too, so a MCN that could better production and distribution across these different verticals may provide a lot of value
Whatever the Zealot Network’s new venture becomes it will certainly involve a lot of former Maker Studio talent. The company said that investors include more than 15 current and former Maker Studio employees. Involvement of Maker Studios alumni and employees is an important statement and vote of confidence as Zappin was ousted as Maker Studios CEO in June of 2013. Maker Studios later agreed to be sold to Disney for $500 million in March 2014.
Danny Zappin will serve as president and CEO of the new venture and the $25 million in funding will support operations, acquisitions and investments. Zealot Networks will be located in Venice, California.