Popdust Raises New Round of Financing Led by Lerer Media Ventures

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$1 Million Series A Round will Help Startup Produce Original Content and Social Features Exclusively Focused on Popular Music

Popdust (http://www.popdust.com/), a music editorial website focused exclusively on mainstream artists and pop music culture, announced today that it has completed a $1 million Series A round of funding led by Lerer Media Ventues, a New York City-based venture capital firm. With the financing, Popdust will accelerate growth of its editorially-driven content platform, providing audiences with breaking music news, reviews, and gossip about Tier-A artists and their biggest songs, as well as a direct feed of real-time content via Twitter, artist blogs, consumption data and other sources. The round includes investors and angels from top institutions including Softbank, Raptor Capital Management, and RRE; and follows an undisclosed seed round raised in 2010.

The core of Popdust’s content model, and a key point of differentiation, is the original editorial identity created under the direction of Popdust Co-Founder and Editor Craig Marks; one of most widely-read and respected music editors in the world. His long reputation for innovation and creativity give Popdust direct access to the biggest artists in music and immediate authority.

“When it comes to online media, the vast majority of websites and blogs dedicated to writing about music blithely ignore popular artists, instead focusing on the specialist subcategory of rock known as indie-rock,” said Popdust Editor Craig Marks. “Conversely, the media properties that do cover pop artists – celebrity gossip sites and large general interest properties – are either completely uninterested in the actual music, which excludes them from any real access, or too straight-laced and tin-eared to produce content with the kind of playful, witty, conversational and still authoritative voice that young audiences expect from their online experience.”

Popdust is a portfolio company of Gramercy Labs, an incubator which also created Snooth
(http://www.snooth.com, the world’s largest wine website) and Lot18 (http://www.lot18.com, an invitation-only wine private sale service). Along with Craig Marks, Popdust’s executive team includes Co-Founder and Chairman Kevin Fortuna, previous President and CEO of Quigo (an advertising technology company that was sold to AOL Time Warner for $360 million), Co-Founder / President & GM David Wade, previous head of worldwide strategic sales and services for imeem (a social music platform that reached more than 25 million users), Co-Founder Philip James, Founder and CEO of Snooth, and founding advisor, Stephen Colvin, President of The Daily Beast.

The team’s collective domain expertise in music, distributed publishing, and social media enables Popdust to reach and engage music fans in multiple media experiences and on an array of networked devices. Popdust will allow users to follow all real-time content being published artists they follow through Twitter, photo sites, tour blogs and fan sites, along with Popdust original content; all in a simple dashboard interface. Popdust will also leverage software to incentivize fans to join the conversation directly through interview questions, voting on features, and community tweet and comment ranking. Fans are rewarded by direct artist access/attention through a boxscore-driven ranking economy which delivers high engagement and visit frequency.

"The huge worldwide population of pop music fans represents the most engaged passion group on the Internet and mobile, and we’re excited to help brand partners reach what’s by far the largest part of the music market." said David Wade, Co-Founder / President & GM. "The combination of high-quality original content coupled with our distribution network of premium publisher partners puts us in the position to deliver world-class user experiences. Brands are themselves fast becoming true purveyors of media and entertainment, and Popdust is a highly effective partner in helping them do it authentically.”

About Popdust (http://www.popdust.com)

In a sea of copycat celebrity gossip, Popdust trains an expert music-centric lens on the artists creating and performing the biggest songs in the country. Popdust is the first and last word on breaking music stories; with compelling original video features and direct access to the most interesting and influential acts in Pop, R&B, Hip-Hop and Country. Popdust's unique social platform allows pop-obsessed users to participate in features directly and follow artists' activity around the clock from a number of different sources. Look for us on location at the 53rd annual Grammy awards in February 2011 to coincide with our worldwide launch.

About Gramercy Labs (http://www.gramercylabs.com)

Headquartered in New York City, Gramercy Labs is a portfolio of companies founded by serial entrepreneurs Kevin Fortuna and Philip James. Gramercy focuses on finding, funding, launching and building great companies with software-based digital media or e-commerce models. Companies that are a part of the Gramercy Labs portfolio include: Popdust (http://www.popdust.com, a music editorial website focused exclusively on mainstream artists and pop music culture), Snooth (http://www.snooth.com, the world’s largest wine website), Lot18 (http://www.lot18.com, an invitation-only wine private sale service), and Fameball (http://www.fameball.com, a digital media company focused on entertainment content and social gaming).


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