Israeli content publishing platform Playbuzz said it has raised $15 million in new funding, led by Saban Ventures with participation from The Walt Disney Company. Existing investors 83North, Carmel Ventures and FirstTime Ventures also participated in the funding round.
“Playbuzz enables publishers and brands to create content that matches today’s content-consumption habits, while generating meaningful engagement and new monetization opportunities,” said Shaul Olmert, co-founder and CEO of Playbuzz. “The support of global leaders in media, such as Saban and Disney, will enable us to expand both our editorial reach and sponsored content business.”
Shaul Olmert is an Israeli entrepreneur and business executive who has been involved in numerous other startups including NetAlign, GameGround, and Sundaysky. He also served as an executive at Nickelodeon/MTV Networks and Conduit. He also served in the IDF and is the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He has a Masters degree in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University.
The Playbuzz platform is used by tens of thousands of publishers, brands and content creators to create and distribute content in formats that optimize audience engagement and social distribution. Examples of Playbuzz’s innovative content formats include slideshows, flip cards, galleries, quizzes, lists and video snaps.
The popularity of content created using Playbuzz is skyrocketing, as engagement metrics for such items outpace those of traditional digital formats, such as articles and long-form video. Playbuzz-powered content generates average item completion rates of up to 94% and social share rates as high as 15%.
“Engaging content is the key to media consumption, and Playbuzz has positioned itself as the leading platform for media companies and brands to create and distribute such content across all devices,” said Barak Pridor, Managing Partner at Saban Ventures, who joins Playbuzz’s Board of Directors following this financing round. “Playbuzz’s unique network, and distributed sponsored content offering, make it the ideal platform for editorial and commercial growth of its partners.”
Founded in 2012 by Shaul Olmert and Tom Pachys, Playbuzz is a leading global platform for publishers and brands to create content people love. The company has 100 employees in its offices in New York, London, Tel Aviv, Hamburg and Nashville. Playbuzz’s rapid growth is fueled by the adoption of its platform by tens of thousands of publishers, brands and content creators worldwide who use the company’s analytics tools and mobile-friendly content formats to engage users, increase web traffic, boost their reach and optimize content for maximum social interaction and shares. The Playbuzz network reaches hundreds of millions of users monthly, the company says.
Saban Ventures (SV) is focused on identifying, investing in and partnering with the most promising startups in stages that range from post-seed to growth. SV focuses on the digital media space, including mobile, social, entertainment, information, eCommerce, cloud, financial technologies and SaaS (Software as a Service). SV is an affiliate of Saban Capital Group (SCG), a private investment firm based in Los Angeles. SCG specializes in the global media, entertainment, and communication industries. The firm currently makes both controlling and minority investments in public and private companies and plays an active role in its portfolio companies. SCG’s current private equity investments include: Saban Brands, Univision, Celestial Tiger Entertainment (a venture with Lionsgate and Astro, Malaysia’s largest pay TV platform), MNC (Indonesia’s largest and only vertically-integrated media company), and Partner Communications (a leading telecommunications company in Israel).
SCG was established by Haim Saban, co-founder of Fox Family Worldwide, a global television broadcasting, production, distribution and merchandising company owned in partnership with Rupert Murdoch and The News Corporation, following its sale to The Walt Disney Company in October 2001.