Thursday, September 17, 2020

Imagine Impact Closes Series A Financing With Benchmark

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine Impact, the ground breaking content accelerator and online marketplace startup founded by Academy Award-winning duo Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, today announced the close of its Series A financing round led by Benchmark, one of Silicon Valley's most storied Venture Capital firms. 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. 

"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," said Brian Grazer, Founder, Impact. "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."

"With Benchmark, we are now in a better place to serve the greater creative community worldwide," said Ron Howard, Founder, Impact. "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. 

"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," said Tyler Mitchell, CEO, Impact. "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."

"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," said Bill Gurley, General Partner, Benchmark. "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.

About Imagine Impact
Founded by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard in September 2018, Imagine Impact discovers, cultivates and empowers creative storytellers around the world through a modern curation and development system that helps them create their best work. Impact has also launched The Creative Network, an online content marketplace and social networking platform designed for entertainment industry professionals. Imagine Impact has built a network of 30,000 writers from over 80 countries and developed 72 projects, 25 of which have been set up 24 at major studios throughout the industry, including: Netflix, Sony, Amblin, Legendary, Village Roadshow, Sony and more; Creators have been signed by major agencies and management companies, including CAA, WME, UTA, Verve, Anonymous Content, Lit Management, Management 360, 3Arts and more. Impact's Creative Network is used by industry producers and executives from over 300 companies, including ABC, Amazon, CBS, Disney, HBO, Netflix, NBC, Paramount, Universal, and Warner Brothers.

Most recently, Impact announced a deal with Netflix Films to source and develop original content across four specific genres from the next generation of screenwriters worldwide. In addition, Impact launched their first international accelerator program in Australia last month in association with Gentle Giant Media Group and Screen Australia. Impact also recently launched a podcast, which is an outgrowth of its speaker series that accompanies the accelerator.  "IMPACT: The Podcast" features conversations with world renowned artists such as: Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor); Issa Rae (Insecure); Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Trainwreck): The RZA (Wu-Tang: An American Saga): Dave Burd aka Lil Dicky (Dave): Jeff Schaffer (Curb Your Enthusiasm); Saladin Patterson (The Last O.G.); Academy Award winners Frances McDormand (Three Billboards, Fargo), Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash)and Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man), and many more.

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SOURCE Imagine Impact

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