Backed by Steve and Jean Case, Other VIPs, SnagFilms Snags $10M - cbl
By citybizlist Staff
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Snagfilms, Inc., a free documentary film site backed by Steve and Jean Case and other luminaries, completed an equity offering of $10 million, according to an SEC filing.
SnagFilms.com offers full-length documentary films for free, while encouraging viewers to "snag" a film and put it anywhere on the web. The site also functions as a supporter of causes related to the films, with links to charities and organizations.
The company was launched in July 2008 by Ted Leonsis, longtime AOL executive, coiner of "filmanthropy," and majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, comprising the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA) the Washington Mystics (WNBA), Verizon Center and the Baltimore-Washington Ticketmaster franchise.
Venture capitalist Miles Gilburne of ZG Ventures, LLC, and Steve Case, Chairman of Revolution LLC also invested in the start up.
The company's chief executive officer is Richard Allen, former CEO of The Sporting News and National Geographic, a Deputy Assistant to President Clinton, and a documentary film producer. He is teamed with executive vice presidents Stephanie Sharis, former creative director at
AOL, and David Karp, a seasoned producer and former executive at Discovery Network.
Other board members include Jean Case and Tige Savage of Revolution LLC, Circle Films head Ted Pedas, and Alberto Ibargüen, CEO of the Knight Foundation,
SnagFilms owns indieWire, an online publication covering the independent film industry and has content partnerships with Hulu, IMDb and YouTube.
SEC filing: http://tinyurl.com/38p32hd
Bios from the company website:
Ted Leonsis - Founder and Chairman
Ted Leonsis is the founder, chairman and majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which comprises three professional sports teams - the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Mystics (WNBA) - as well as Verizon Center and the Baltimore-Washington Ticketmaster franchise. The company also operates Kettler Capitals Iceplex (the Capitals training facility and front office) and George Mason University's Patriot Center.
Recently Leonsis was chairman of Revolution Money, which provides secure payments through an Internet-based platform and in 2009 was sold to American Express; Leonsis is now on the board of directors at American Express. He is currently chairman of Clearspring Technologies, the largest online content sharing network, which connects publishers, services and advertisers to audiences on the social web. Over the past 20 years he has been a board member or early investor in a number of successful technology companies, from Google to Groupon.
In 2008 Leonsis founded SnagFilms, which enables online audiences to find, watch, share and support thousands of documentary films. SnagFilms grew out of Leonsis' experience as a producer of such award-winning documentary films as Nanking and Kicking It. Nanking premiered at the 2007
Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the Documentary Editing Award and has won a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award. Kicking It premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and aired on ESPN. A third documentary produced by Leonsis, A Fighting Chance, will air on ESPN in fall 2010. In addition to being the Internet's leading site for watching and sharing nonfiction films, SnagFilms owns indieWIRE, the leading news, information and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike.
While working on documentaries and establishing SnagFilms, Leonsis coined and championed the term "filmanthropy." It is his unique way of combining film and philanthropy, raising the awareness of important issues with the goal of promoting change by increasing volunteerism and activating charitable giving.
Leonsis' book The Business of Happiness: 6 Secrets To Extraordinary Success In Work And Life was published in February 2010 and quickly became a bestseller. Previous books by Leonsis include Blue Magic: The People, Power, and Politics Behind The IBM Personal Computer (1988.)
In addition to serving on the board of directors of American Express, where he is chairman of the Technology and Innovation Committee, Leonsis sits on the board of publicly held companies such as Nutrisystem and Rosetta Stone. He also serves on the Technology Committee of the board of directors for Alcatel-Lucent. He also serves on the board of directors of his alma mater, Georgetown University. Leonsis has numerous business interests and investments, including the following companies: Algentis, GridPoint, Triporati, Mahalo.com, MediaBank, MobilePosse, ObjectVideo, SB Nation, TidalTV and Zedge.
Leonsis is a committed philanthropist and is actively involved with numerous charities, including Best Buddies, D.C. Central Kitchen, See Forever Foundation, Street Soccer USA, Venture Philanthropy Partners, YouthAIDS and others through the work of the Leonsis Foundation.
Early in his career Leonsis was the founder of several new media companies, including Redgate Communications, a pioneering "new media company" - a phrase Leonsis is crediting with coining - that in 1993 was the first company acquired by AOL. He was also the founder of six personal computer magazines and worked on the introduction of the IBM PC and the Apple Macintosh. He co-invented a successful board game called "Only in New York" and served as a marketing executive with Harris Corp and Wang Laboratories.
He once served as mayor of Orchid, Fla. Among his many honors, Leonsis has been named Washington's Businessman of the Year, a Washingtonian of the Year, one of the 20 most influential people in sports, one of America's most creative executives and a top 10 entrepreneur of the year. Leonsis blogs daily at TedsTake.com. Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., and later, Lowell, Mass., he now lives in McLean, Va., with his wife and two children.
Steve Case - Board Member and Investor
Steve Case currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Revolution, an investment company that was launched in April, 2005. Revolution's mission is to partner with entrepreneurs in building businesses that give people more choice, control and convenience in important areas of their lives. Revolution's current activities are focused on companies in the health, financial, resort, wellness and digital sectors.
Prior to starting Revolution, Steve was the Chair and CEO of America Online, Inc., and later, the Chairman of AOL Time Warner. As the co-Founder of AOL, Steve played an integral role in building the world's largest Internet company and helped transform how people communicate, learn and conduct business. AOL brought millions of Americans their first connection to the Internet and drove worldwide adoption of a medium that has become more valuable than the telephone or television. Steve also ensured that AOL led the industry on issues like making the Internet a safe place for children, bridging the "digital divide," and investing in online philanthropy.
Steve is currently Chairman of two non-profit organizations, the Case Foundation, a private family foundation he established in 1997 with his wife Jean and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), an entrepreneurial approach to funding brain cancer research that he founded in 2001 with his late brother Dan. In addition, Steve was a founding organizer of Business Strengthening America and has served as vice chair of the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy. He was also honored with the National Mentoring Partnership Leadership Award.
Steve was born and raised in Hawaii, where he remains a leading advocate for combining respect for the islands' native culture and environment with job creation and economic growth. He is a major investor in two Hawaii businesses -- Grove Farm of Kauai and Maui Land & Pineapple -- that are developing fresh operating models for the agriculture industry and sustainable communities for residents and visitors.
Steve has resided in the Washington, DC area for the past two decades. Revolution's headquarters are in downtown Washington.
Jean Case - Board Member and Investor
Jean Case is an actively engaged philanthropist and a pioneer in the world of interactive technologies. Her career as a technology executive in the private sector spanned nearly two decades before she and her husband, Steve Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997. Its mission focuses on investing in individuals and organizations that aim to connect people, increase giving, and catalyze civic action.
An activist and champion for deepening civic engagement and increasing giving and giving opportunities everywhere, Jean uses her leadership of the Case Foundation to promote innovation, collaboration, and leadership in the nonprofit sector. She is also committed to widening the distribution of empowering technologies that can be used by anyone in transforming their communities.
The innovations Jean has brought to the work of the Case Foundation have been profiled in TIME Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and other leading news outlets, as well as in blogging and social networking communities online.
In 2006, Jean was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Chair of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. A key priority for the Council is leveraging the professional skills of individuals and companies through pro bono service programs to help the nonprofit sector achieve more meaningful outcomes for communities.
In 2007, Jean was appointed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to serve as a co-chair of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership to promote economic opportunity for the Palestinian people, prepare Palestinian youth for the responsibilities of citizenship and good governance, as well as marshal new private investment in the West Bank.
Jean has been honored for her philanthropic work by, among others, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which recognizes leaders who use their assets and resources to improve American lives and institutions; and Voices for National Service, which awarded Jean its Citizen Service Award for investing in the civic health of the nation through support of national service. In addition, King Abdullah II of Jordan personally recognized Jean for her efforts to bridge the global digital divide.
Today, in addition to her work at the Case Foundation, on the President's Council and at the US-Palestinian Partnership, Jean serves on the boards of PlayPumps International, Points of Light Institute, Malaria No More, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), ePals, SnagFilms, America's Promise, and the Potomac School. She also serves on the advisory council of the National Geographic Society and the advisory board to the National Conference on Citizenship.
Miles Gilburne - Board Member and Investor
Miles Gilburne has been active for more than 25 years as a venture capitalist, corporate strategist and technology lawyer in the media, communications and technology industries. He is currently a managing member of ZG Ventures, LLC, an early stage venture capital firm focused on media, information technology and bioinformatics.
Prior to forming ZG Ventures in 2000, Mr. Gilburne served for five years as senior vice president of Corporate Development for America Online, stepping down from those duties in December 1999. At AOL, Mr. Gilburne was responsible for strategic planning and for major corporate acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances. He was elected to the Board of Directors of AOL in 1999 and continued to serve on the Board of Directors of Time Warner until stepping down in May 2006. Prior to joining AOL, Mr. Gilburne was a founding partner of The Cole Gilburne Fund, an early stage venture capital fund focused on information and communications technology and a founding partner of technology and media law firms in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Mr. Gilburne is currently a member of the Board of Directors of SRA International, Inc., a publicly traded government services company; the chairman of Brainscope, a medical device company focused on diagnosing concussion in sports and the military; and a founding investor and member of the board of various privately held venture capital backed companies, including: ePals, connecting classrooms in 200 countries into a global community of online learners; Clearsping, a leader in Web 2.0 products and services for the distribution and sharing of content; and iSkoot, a company which creates smart networks bringing sophisticated Internet services to mobile phones.
Mr. Gilburne is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., the ePals Foundation and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
He received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Ted Pedas - Board Member and Investor
Ted Pedas, along with his associates Jim Pedas, Bill Durkin, and the noted author George P. Pelecanos founded Circle Films, one of the main backers of American independent cinema. He and the company are responsible for producing Joel and Ethan Coen's Blood Simple (1984), Raising Arizona (1987), and Miller's Crossing (1990), as well as Robert M. Young's Caught (1996).
Rick Allen - Chief Executive Officer
Rick Allen has run successful companies in nearly every form of media, and helped to develop or extend some of the country's most prestigious brands. Rick is the CEO of SnagFilms which he helped to found with Ted Leonsis. The two produced Kicking It, which screened at Sundance, Tribeca and other film festivals and was aired globally by ESPN; for the film and their work on homelessness, Leonsis, Allen and colleagues received the 2009 Stewart B. McKinney Award from the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. The two are producing a new documentary, A Fighting Chance, which will be released in the fall of 2010.
Allen previously was President and CEO of Sporting News, the country's oldest sports media company, leading a revitalization that saw it named twice to Adweek's annual "Hot List" as a top-10 media property. Earlier, he served as President and CEO of the for-profit arm of the National Geographic Society, responsible for television and film; interactive products, websites and e-commerce; maps; travel; retail; catalog; and consumer products. Under his leadership, the National Geographic Channel was launched and became one of the fastest growing cable channels in recent history. Before coming to National Geographic, Rick was a senior executive at Discovery Communications, parent of the Discovery Channel, where he extended the company's brand into filmed entertainment, education, technology and retail.
He also served in the White House as a Deputy Assistant to President Clinton, helping to establish AmeriCorps (the domestic Peace Corps). Before his White House service, Allen was CEO of a privately-held group of 35 companies based in Los Angeles. He has written and lectured widely, and been active in civic affairs particularly dealing with education, including service with the advisory boards to the California State Board of Education and the Southern California Association of Governments, and as Vice Chairman of Project Exploration, a nonprofit science organization that makes science accessible to the public - especially minority youth and girls - through personalized experiences with scientists and science. He is a member of the Dartmouth Alumni Council, serving on its Enrollment and Admissions Committee, and as an elected member of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Rick lives in Potomac, Maryland with his wife and three sons.
Stephanie Sharis - Executive Vice President
Stephanie Sharis has over ten years experience in New Media and Entertainment. From 2004 through 2007, she worked at AOL in Premium Services and then Original Programming. Her last role was as Director of Creative Development where she developed episodic web-based series sponsored by major clients like GM and P&G. She also built and managed AOL True Stories, a broadband channel for documentaries, which was the precursor for SnagFilms.
Before joining AOL, Stephanie co-founded and served as Co-President of Transmission Films, an online distributor of independent and foreign films.
She has also worked as a project consultant for New York Office, Walden Media, Content Film, Urbanworld Films, JP Morgan and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
In addition to working as a business executive in the industry, Stephanie has also been involved in the creative side: she co-produced THE PROMISE, a short film starring Saundra Santiago and Kevin Conway, MUSIC INN, a documentary which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, and THE PARTY'S OVER, a feature documentary starring Philip Seymour Hoffman that was released in theaters internationally and aired on the BBC.
Stephanie graduated summa cum laude from Wesleyan University in 1994 and received her graduate degree in public policy from Harvard University in 1999.
David Karp - Executive Vice President
David Karp has over 20 years experience as a successful media and entertainment executive. Prior to joining SnagFilms, he produced programming and consulted on strategies and business development in the traditional and new media spaces for a range of media and entertainment companies, including Disney (ABC Family), Discovery Networks, Hanley Wood and OutsideHub.com. He served as Project Executive on "Greensburg" (13-part series for Planet Green), Executive Producer for "American Craftsmen" (Discovery's HD Theater), and developed an award-winning online video network for Hanley Wood. Karp has also provided strategic leadership for On Stage Entertainment, Inc. In that capacity, he played a key role in mounting live theatrical shows around the country and negotiating a deal leading to the production of "The One and Only", a highly-rated talent competition series that aired on BBC 1 in the U.K.
Previously, Karp was Senior Vice President and General Manager for Discovery Communications, Inc. Karp oversaw all aspects of programming, development, marketing, and management of Military Channel, Discovery Home Channel and Science Channel. During his twelve years at Discovery, Karp also held roles managing New Media Ventures and Business Development for Discovery Networks U.S. He successfully led the launch of Discovery HD Theater, deployment of numerous digital media efforts, development of an animation and special effects studio and the launch of a satellite radio service.
Additionally, Karp was responsible for extending Discovery brands and products into site-based initiatives, including live events, touring exhibits and large format films. He began his career at Discovery in 1993 as Director, Legal and Business Affairs.
Before joining Discovery, Karp was an associate at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm of Hogan & Hartson, where he specialized in telecommunications and cable television matters. Karp earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. Go Blue!
President and CEO
Alberto Ibargüen was named president and CEO of Knight Foundation in January 2005. He is the former publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. During his tenure, The Miami Herald won three Pulitzer Prizes and El Nuevo Herald won Spain's Ortega y Gasset Prize for excellence in journalism.
He studied at Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Between college and law school, he served in the Peace Corps in Venezuela's Amazon Territory and in Colombia. He practiced law in Hartford, Connecticut until he joined The Hartford Courant, then Newsday in New York before moving to Miami.
Ibargüen is chairman of the board of the World Wide Web Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing the Web as a medium that empowers people worldwide to bring about positive change. He is a member of the board of PepsiCo, AMR Corp. (American Airlines), ProPublica and the Council on Foreign Relations. Over the years, he has served on the boards of arts, education and civic organizations, including as chairman of the board for the Newseum, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Wesleyan University, Smith College and the Trustees' Council of the National Gallery of Art. He served as board chairman of PBS and of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.
For his work to protect journalists in Latin America as part of the Inter American Press Association, he received a Maria Moors Cabot citation from Columbia University, and George Washington University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters.
Ibargüen and his wife, Susana, live in Coconut Grove, FL.
Tige Savage partnered with Steve Case to launch Revolution LLC, where he is Managing Director & Executive Vice President and leads Revolution's deal-making and venture capital efforts. Tige has been named one of the Washington, D.C. area's 100 "Tech Titans" and serves, or has served on, the boards of Revolution portfolio companies Flexcar (Zipcar), Revolution Money, LivingSocial, Clearspring, SparkPeople, Snagfilms, and Qloud (Buzznet).
Previously, Tige was a Corporate Vice President of Time Warner and a senior member of Time Warner Ventures, where his team invested in private companies innovating at the intersections of media and technology. Prior to joining Time Warner Ventures, he was the Executive Vice President and a founder of Riggs Capital Partners, where he invested in companies and funds focused on a variety of technology, media, and communications-oriented growth industries.
Additionally, Tige served as EVP and Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Board of Riggs Bank, Joe Allbritton, and served on the board of Allbritton Communications Company, advising on its new media strategies.