Learning-Focused Digital Destination Curiosity.com Announces Ownership Change and Series A Funding Led by Discovery Communications and Pritzker Group
Discovery & Pritzker Group Venture Capital Joined by Origin Ventures, Chicago Ventures and Corazon Capital as Investors, Founder Gabe Vehovsky to Continue as CEO
11/11/2014 – Chicago – Curiosity.com – a consumer-centered online marketplace featuring the best learning-based content from across the web – announced today it will change ownership from Discovery Communications to an independent company, Beacon Solutions, Inc. The Chicago-based venture also has raised $6 million in Series A funding from Discovery and four local investors: Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Origin Ventures, Chicago Ventures and Corazon Capital.
“Discovery Communications itself was born from a singular idea, the Discovery Channel, combined with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and we continue to pursue strategic growth opportunities, especially in the knowledge space,” said Bruce Campbell, Chief Development and Digital Officer and General Counsel, Discovery Communications, who oversaw the transaction for the company. “Curiosity.com has evolved from a powerful concept to a strong platform and business. We look forward to continuing to support Curiosity.com’s growth and development, along with this new, strong team of investors.”
Conceived, incubated and launched in January 2014 by Discovery Communications, Curiosity.com encourages users to have fun while learning, and making it easy by aggregating and organizing content that fuels curiosity and knowledge-building – with more than 500,000 courses, classes and tutorials from 300 trusted partners. With the added investment and under the leadership of Founder and CEO Gabe Vehovsky, the team will continue to enhance the Curiosity.com platform and refine its offering for consumers. Joining Vehovsky on the Board of Directors will be Sean Atkins (Discovery Communications), Adam Koopersmith (Pritzker Group Venture Capital) and Brent Hill (Origin Ventures).
“During my seven years with Discovery, I have been inspired by a mission-driven culture that values curiosity and growth on all levels, and I am grateful for Discovery’s foresight and support for Curiosity.com,” said Gabe Vehovsky, Founder and CEO of Curiosity.com. “With this solid foundation and thanks to our forward-thinking financial partners, Curiosity.com is ready for its next chapter, reaching growing audiences and, most importantly, making it fun and easy for them to never stop learning.”
“With a world class technology team, Curiosity is tackling the complicated problem of aggregating and categorizing the world’s educational content, and packaging it in a way to delight consumers,” said Adam Koopersmith, who led the investment for Pritzker Group Venture Capital. “Gabe, the team at Curiosity, and Discovery have done a great job building the foundation for a great business and we’re excited to be their partner as we tackle this ambitious goal.”
For this transaction, Discovery Communications was advised by Proskauer Rose LLP. Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Origin Ventures, Chicago Ventures and Corazon Capital were advised by Burns & Levinson LLP.
Life-long learners are invited to feed their curiosity at Curiosity.com, which is optimized for mobile, tablet and desktop devices.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 pay-TV programmer reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity, engaging and entertaining viewers with high-quality content on worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and Science, as well as U.S. joint venture network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Discovery also controls Eurosport International, a premier sports entertainment group, including six pay-TV network brands across Europe and Asia. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, through Discovery Education, and a digital leader with a diversified online portfolio, including Discovery Digital Networks. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
About Pritzker Group Venture Capital
Pritzker Group, led by Tony and J.B. Pritzker, has three principal investment teams: Private Capital, which acquires and operates leading North America-based companies; Venture Capital, which provides multi-stage venture funding to technology companies throughout the United States; and Asset Management, which partners with top-performing investment managers across global public markets.
Pritzker Group Venture Capital, formerly New World Ventures, helps entrepreneurs build market-leading technology companies at every stage of their growth. Since its founding in 1996, the firm has worked side-by-side with entrepreneurs at more than 100 companies, building partnerships based on trust and integrity. The firm’s proprietary capital structure allows for tremendous flexibility, and its experienced team of investment professionals and entrepreneurs offers companies a vast network of strategic relationships and guidance. Successful exits in recent years include Fleetmatics (NYSE: FLTX), SinglePlatform (acquired by Constant Contact), Zinch (acquired by Chegg), Playdom (acquired by Disney), LeftHand Networks (acquired by Hewlett-Packard), and TicketsNow (acquired by Ticketmaster). For more information, visit www.pritzkergroup.com.
About Origin Ventures
Founded in 1999 by Steve Miller and Bruce Barron, Origin Ventures is is an early stage venture capital firm based in Chicago, IL. The firm is investing from Origin III, a $47M fund closed in January 2013. Previous investments include Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB), ifbyphone, Ahalogy, Windsor Circle, and Apptentive. For more information, visit www.originventures.com.
About Chicago Ventures
Chicago Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs and their innovative technology companies that are disrupting a large market opportunity. The fund invests in Chicago and the Central region of the country, providing engaged support through its operating experience, advisors, and network to help its portfolio companies build great businesses.
About Corazon Capital
Founded in January 2014 by serial entrepreneur, Sam Yagan, Corazon Capital is a venture capital fund for early stage investments. Recognizing the power of leading wholeheartedly, Sam founded Corazon Capital out of his passion for building and nurturing meaningful connections, as well as to further pursue his hobby of investing. Corazon Capital is a culmination of Sam’s friendships, spanning his personal and professional life, coming together to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. For more information on Corazon Capital, please visit www.corazoncap.com or www.linkedin.com/company/corazon-capital-llc