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Jon Steinberg’s news startup, Cheddar, has raised $10 million in funding as it looks to expand its live programming.
The round, which follows up on a $3.1 million capital infusion from earlier this year, was led by early Cheddar investor Lightspeed Venture Partners and included participation from Comcast Ventures and Ribbit Capital.
Cheddar launched five months ago as the brainchild of Steinberg, a former BuzzFeed and Daily Mail executive who wanted to create a modern day finance- and business-focused news network aimed at the millennial audience.
Cheddar currently uses Facebook Live to broadcast from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and last month opened a street-level studio in the Flatiron Building to expand its coverage into lifestyle programming.
“We’ll use this capital to become a full-fledged live, linear cable network — except not on cable, but rather leading social and OTT services,” Steinberg said Tuesday in a statement. “Comcast Ventures brings deep expertise in distribution on Cheddar. Ribbit is the country’s leading investor in fintech — this expertise will be essential as we continue to expand our business news programming. Finally, Lightspeed’s support and guidance since Cheddar was just an idea in my head has been unparalleled.”
Cheddar is currently weaving native advertising into its free streams on Facebook and also sells full shows via Vimeo for $6.99 a month. But Lightspeed partner Jeremy Liew says that what attracted him to the company was that it has the potential to be an CNBC analog for a millennial, online-first audience. He points to Facebook Live, Twitter and Snapchat as examples of the new video distributors, sort of broadcast or basic cable networks. But Liew believes that eventually a Netflix or Hulu will want to buy Cheddar’s live, day-long content, too. “Netflix is a bundle. Hulu is a bundle,” he says. “We believe they’re going to need to complete their set of programming with appointment TV but also ambient TV, the live TV that you turn on when you’re getting your kids ready for school or you’re at a bar with your friends. Those use cases will need to be addressed in a TVOS world.”
In the meantime, Cheddar plans to continue to grow its programming. The company is eyeing expansion into Los Angeles with a studio that will focus on covering the local startup scene as well as the business of entertainment.
Sept. 6, 5:00 p.m. Updated to correct that Cheddar had previously raised $3.1 million in funding.
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