Preferred Ventures, the digital media investment firm launched last year by FreeCreditReport.com founder Ed Ojdana and former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, just announced that it has invested a “high six figure” seed round into GoDigital, a digital distribution service for independent films.
GoDigital has a library of more than 1,000 independent, documentary, and foreign movies, which it makes available to viewers through deals with Lionsgate, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, and others. Initially launched as a music distribution service, then switching to its current model in 2008, GoDigital has been bootstrapped until now. However, founder and CEO Logan Mulvey says the company reached a point where it needed more money to grow — hence the current funding.
Ojdana is now the chairman of GoDigital’s board, and Kelly is joining the board as well. It’s tempting to look at the deal as a meeting of minds between the tech and movie worlds, and to a certain extent, that’s how Mulvey and his investors describe it, too. Mulvey, for example, says that in addition to the money, he was excited to bring a “different skillset” to the company’s leadership team. And Kelly says that since the early days of Facebook, he has been an advocate of ending the “oppositionalism” between Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
At the same time, Ojdana and Kelly aren’t exactly neophytes in the movie world. For starters, they’re both executive producers on the recent documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi — along with Kevin Iwashina, who represented Preferred Ventures in this deal. In fact, Kelly says that before investing, he tested out GoDigital by using it to distribute The Power Of Two, another documentary that he produced.
As for where GoDigital comes from here, Ojdana says he’s hoping to improve the company’s marketing efforts. By building a database of customer viewing and preferences, the company could start recommending films that might appeal to you, Netflix-style — but where Netflix just recommends movies that are on Netflix, GoDigital can point customers to all of the platforms where they can download or view a given film, turning the site into a “one-stop shop” for independent movies.
“We want to bring in some assets on the marketing side and make a difference on how independent films on monetized,” Ojdana says.
Chris Kelly was Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer from Seotember 2005 through August 2009, when he began leave to run for Attorney General in California. He is a board member and investor in LOYAL3, Fandor, GoDigital, Electionear, and many other innovative companies. Chris is trained as an attorney and previously represented many innovative companies on privacy, security, safety and regulatory affairs. In the June 2010 Democratic Attorney General primary, Chris received 16% of the vote in a...