Former YouTube exec unveils Next 10 Ventures, a $50M fund to back online creators

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Next 10 Ventures is a new firm that’s raised $50 million to invest in new digital content, and also in new tools and services for the creators of that content.

The firm was founded by Benjamin Grubbs, previously global director of top creator partnerships at YouTube, who also serves as Next 10’s CEO. He’s joined by COO Paul Condolora, who was formerly co-head of the Harry Potter franchise at Warner Bros., and who was also in charge of digital and consumer products at Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

Grubbs told me the firm’s name refers to supporting the next 10 years of a creator’s career, and that it emerges from conversations he’d been having with successful online creators.

“They ask, ‘How do I take this to the next level?’” Grubbs said. “‘I really enjoy what I’m doing, how do I build a career out of this?’”

He added that he’s looking to work with a “diversified mix of creators” — they don’t necessarily need to have a huge following already, but they should have demonstrated that they can produce compelling videos and they should be “really trying to make a long-term career in this space.”

It sounds like Next 10’s investments will be structured in a number of different ways. In some cases they’ll look like a traditional seed-stage startup investment. In others, the firm will fund its own products and services. And in still others, it will be funding content and partnering with creators.

The firm says it’s focused on three broad areas: video content and IP creation, e-commerce and community-based products and services. And there will be a fund focused specifically on creators of educational content.

In fact, Grubbs said one of the big opportunities is bringing more educational content to Asia. He said that as the young people in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines move online, “education content is lacking on the supply side.”

“What we want to do is not just wait for this market to grow up and graduate, but actually … be an active participant,” he said. “The mission of the company is really to enrich and inspire and entertain — and kind of in that order.”

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