Ruckus Net gets $10 mil infusion


NEW YORK -- Privately held Ruckus Network Inc., a provider of digital music and film content as well as social networking services for colleges, said Thursday that it has received a $10 million capital injection from the Anschutz Investment Co. Llc. and Columbia Capital in a second round of venture funding.

Anschutz and Columbia are new Ruckus investors, joining such previous financial backers as Battery Ventures, Eastward Capital, Pinnacle Ventures and Shelter Capital.

"Ruckus Network meets a significant demand on more than 900 college campuses by offering students, faculty and staff a vast array of legally downloadable multimedia, including access to 2.75 million songs and full-length films, as well as a rich social network through which to communicate with friends and colleagues," Anschutz managing director Augie Cruciotti said.

Columbia principal Patrick Hendy added: "Ruckus sits at the confluence of two of the most significant trends among college students today: social networking and next-generation music and video discovery, sharing and consumption, which have become ubiquitous."

He also lauded Ruckus for having "shown tremendous momentum during the past year," saying this "validates the company's advertising-supported business model and positions it nicely for future growth."

Ruckus said it will use the capital infusion to further scale its free and legal advertising-supported business and to develop additional services and strategic partnerships targeted at the 18- to 24-year-old college demographic. The network did not provide further specifics.

"Ruckus has become the digital entertainment service of choice for college students and administrators alike, creating considerable interest among advertisers and marketers who recognize the vast potential Ruckus fulfills," CEO Mike Bebel said.

The company said Ruckus membership grew 60% during the spring semester, and its music library now contains "nearly 3 million high-fidelity, virus-free songs from every major label, as well as an impressive and expansive list of independent labels."

The company's advertisers include Warner Independent Pictures, Cingular and Reebok.

Anschutz Investment Co. is the investment arm of the Anschutz Co. and invests in such sectors as media and entertainment, sports, telecommunications, energy and transportation.

Columbia Capital is a venture-capital firm specializing in the communications and information technology industries.