Imagine Impact closes Series A financing with Benchmark
Imagine Impact, the content accelerator and online marketplace startup founded by Academy Award-winning duo Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, announced the close of its Series A financing round led by Benchmark, a Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm.
Impact joins eBay, Hipcamp, Instawork, Nextdoor, OpenTable, Stitch Fix, Uber, Yelp, Zillow, and many others in Benchmark's powerhouse investment portfolio. Bill Gurley, the highly regarded, longtime Benchmark partner and frequent fixture atop the Forbes "Midas List" spearheaded the deal and will join the board.
Brian Grazer, Founder, Impact: "We could not be more thrilled to be working with Benchmark. They have an unrivaled track record in building marketplaces and companies that have changed the world. From the moment we met Bill, it was clear that he understood and believed in our vision. Benchmark is not just an investor, but a true partner, whose expertise you can't put a price on."
Ron Howard, Founder, Impact: "With Benchmark, we are now in a better place to serve the greater creative community worldwide. Their investment enables us to go wider and deeper in bringing great storytellers to the forefront and connecting them to the entertainment industry."
The investment establishes Imagine Impact as a new, stand-alone company, Impact Creative Systems, led by Impact CEO Tyler Mitchell, and will support the startup's continuing expansion in technology. Impact is launching The Creative Network this fall - an online marketplace and professional networking platform designed specifically for entertainment industry professionals to help bring efficiency and access to Hollywood.
Tyler Mitchell, CEO, Impact: "We initially launched Impact as a content accelerator to democratize access to the entertainment industry, discover talent at scale and accelerate the often slow, frustrating and antiquated development process. To do this, we built new technologies and systems to rapidly evaluate talent at scale, and developed (or created) a platform to showcase the talent we discovered and connect them and their material directly to the global market. The response to our mobile/web app was so overwhelmingly positive that it became immediately clear that there is a huge demand for a platform that can connect people across all aspects of the entertainment industry, from development to production -- a content and labor marketplace with social networking aspects and specialized tools that will make the business of creating content far more efficient and enjoyable."
Bill Gurley, General Partner, Benchmark: "The old way of sourcing talent in the entertainment industry is based on who you know, which presents high barriers-to-entry for the fresh voices we need to hear from. Impact is knocking down these barriers through a marketplace model that reduces information asymmetry and levels the playing field. Ultimately this leads to more opportunities and better outcomes for everyone involved."
The Series A comes on the heels of Impact's recent announcements, including: a deal with Netflix utilizing Impact's proprietary systems to source and develop original feature films from writers around the world across four specific genres for Netflix; as well as Impact's recent launch of Impact Australia, its first international accelerator which was financed by Screen Australia and Film Victoria, along with the state and territory screen agencies.