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Utah Business

This week, Provo-based entertainment company, Angel Studios announced a large investment from Elon Musk's VC firm, Gigafund, who also invested in SpaceX.

Gigafund, Elon Musk’s VC backs Provo-based Angel Studios

Provo — Angel Studios, the streaming platform behind the most successful crowdfunded shows of all time, has raised $47 million to bring control of the entertainment industry back to consumers and creators. The round caps off a major comeback year for cofounders Neal and Jeffrey Harmon, who led Angel Studios to over $100 million in annual revenue just one year after Disney and Warner Bros. tried to shut the studio down in court.

The financing was led by Gigafund, a venture capital firm backing the world’s most ambitious and transformative entrepreneurs, and Bain-backed Uncorrelated Ventures, which invests in infrastructure software. Gigafund is known for being one of the largest investors in SpaceX, as well as other game-changing companies in industries ranging from education and energy to healthcare and housing. Original seed investors Alta Ventures and Kickstart Fund also participated. In addition to the venture backing, 5 million of the investment round was crowdsourced directly from Angel Studios fans.

“Angel Studios helps creators build a direct relationship with their fans and produce meaningful and compelling content for hundreds of millions of people who have been underserved by the entertainment industry,” says Stephen Oskoui, Managing Partner of Gigafund. “We believe that Angel is on track to rewrite the rules of the media business and have a significant impact on culture.”

Today’s movie business is a $280-billion industry almost totally controlled by five major Hollywood studios. Studio executives decide what content to produce in boardrooms behind closed doors, with little to no input from consumers. As a result, almost 80 percent of the films that Hollywood thinks audiences want to see fail to break even every year, while real audiences rarely get the chance to enjoy the stories that matter most to them. Studios rely on a few major hits to maintain the status quo.

Angel Studios is a community-driven movie studio that empowers audiences to decide what content gets produced and distributed while creating communities around each project. Creators pitch projects on the Angel platform, and “Angel investors” fund the ones they’re most excited to see (via the Angel Funding Portal). Post-production, content is delivered directly to viewers and goes viral as fans share it with others.

“On Angel’s community and streaming platform, artists answer to audiences, not to a Hollywood studio,” says Angel co-founder and CEO Neal Harmon, “As our creators invert Hollywood’s abysmal 80 percent failure rate, audiences will win.”

The Angel model has already produced three of the most successful crowdfunded shows of all time, including:

  • The Chosen, the #1 crowdfunded media project in history, viewed over 300 million times to date, with a special in theaters this Christmas.
  • Dry Bar Comedy, the #1 family-friendly stand-up comedy channel, currently on its eighth season with one billion views a year.
  • The Wingfeather Saga, the world’s #1 crowdfunded animated kids show, currently in production.

With this latest funding round, Angel plans to continue improving its streaming platform, market to new audiences, and develop its content pipeline for 2022 and beyond.

“This raise gives us more than funding; it gives us key strategic partners,” says Harmon. “Gigafund and Uncorrelated will help us realize our long-term mission of remaking the entertainment industry and freeing both creators and their fans to enjoy the content that they find most important.” 

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