By Sahil Patel
Danny Zappin, who co-founded and was later ousted as CEO of YouTube multi-channel giant Maker Studios, is back with a new company — and he’s apparently raised a lot of money to jumpstart it.
Called Zealot Networks, the company has the backing of Zappin along with more than 15 former and current Maker Studios employees, talent, and management team. Altogether, the group has invested $25 million into Zealot, which is described as a “digital-first media company and growth accelerator that empowers creative entrepreneurs and talent, delivering multi-platform revenue, distribution, and growth opportunities.”
If you were hoping for more details on what Zealot will actually be up to, the company and Zappin are pretty mum.
“With Zealot, I’m pursuing my greater vision of empowering creative individuals with a new focus on entrepreneurs, distribution, and emerging platforms,” said Zappin, who will serve as president and CEO, in a statement. “We’re operating in multiple passion-based verticals, building zealous audiences, and providing services for companies, brands, and talent across multiple platforms to help them realize their business visions and creative passions.”
The “war chest” (as the company calls it) is pretty sizeable, and will go toward supporting operations, acquisitions, and investments.
Maker Studios, which Zappin co-founded and had a sizeable stake in, recently sold to Disney in a deal worth up to $950 million. A few months earlier, Zappin and a few other former Maker executives tried to block the deal from going through, citing their ongoing legal battle with the company’s new executive team, which were accused of committing a breach of contract and fraud in ousting Zappin as CEO.
A California court rejected the motion, and the Maker shareholder vote and Disney deal went through — making Zappin richer for it.