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Sports media startup Mars Reel has raised $4.7 million in funding from AT&T-owned Otter Media, rapper Drake and NBA player Dwyane Wade.
As part of the deal, Otter will serve as an adviser and strategic partner for Mars Reel.
Founded in 2010 by Brandon and Bradley Deyo, Mars Reel offers high school basketball highlights and other short clips. It has also begun to expand into longer-form content, including video diary series Mars Reel Chronicles and documentary series Life on Mars. The company has a distribution deal with USA Today Sports and a content partnership with LeBron James’ Uninterrupted.
“Sports brings out a passion and engagement in fans that is unmatched, and Mars Reel is super-serving the younger generation of sports enthusiasts by giving them authentic sports content that is organic to their world and designed specifically to their unique viewing habits,” said Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves. “Mars Reel is a true innovator, and we are excited to invest in young, passionate entrepreneurs like Brandon and Bradley, who know and understand their audience.”
Added Brandon Deyo, “Having an outstanding track record for finding, developing and investing in successful digital brands, we are very excited to have the support of Otter Media as we expand our business and move into additional sports categories.”
The funding round brings Mars Reel’s total investment to $7.5 million. The company’s investors also include James and his business partner Maverick Carter, Kevin Durant, Nas and business leaders including former AMC chief Bruce Tuchman.
Otter Media was originally formed as a joint venture of the Chernin Group and AT&T. The company, which incubates, invests in and builds digital media companies, is now fully owned by AT&T through its WarnerMedia division. Otter Media has also invested in Gunpowder & Sky and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine.
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