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Wheelhouse Leads $15M Investment Round In Collectibles Firm Rally, Will Debut Items On History’s ‘Pawn Stars’

Wheelhouse Leads $15M Investment Round In Collectibles Firm Rally, Will Debut Items On History’s ‘Pawn Stars’
Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse, actor John Stamos and former ESPN pair Bill Simmons and Connor Schell are among the investors in a $15M funding round for collectibles company Rally.

Rally is a platform that allows people to buy shares in rare items such as an X-Men comic from 1963, a guitar signed by Slash and a piece of Staples Center signed by Kobe Bryant.

Wheelhouse, which the former Leftfield Entertainment boss launched in 2018 in partnership with Jimmy Kimmel, has led the series B follow-on round with other investors including Kevin Durant’s 35 Ventures, Animal Capital, founded by social media stars Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck, Stamos, Schell, Simmons, former World Series champion Chase Utley, Sal Iacono, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and LionTree.

The latest round brings Rally, which calls itself a fractional investment platform in the $370B collectibles market, to over $65M in equity capital raised to date. It
See full article at Deadline »

Grindstone Entertainment Group Acquires Rights To Musical Comedy ‘Summertime Dropouts’

Grindstone Entertainment Group Acquires Rights To Musical Comedy ‘Summertime Dropouts’
Exclusive: Grindstone Entertainment Group has claimed worldwide rights to Winterstate Entertainment’s musical comedy Summertime Dropouts, ahead of its October 26 virtual premiere benefitting The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with plans to release it next year.

The film centers on three best friends in a pop-punk band, who compete against rivals Late for Curfew and Half Past Midnight to play at the very last Vans Warped Tour. It watches as they discover that the road to fame isn’t an easy journey between work, school, and relationships.

Summertime Dropouts stars up-and-comers including Nicholas Podany, Crystal Lake Evans, Caleb Donahoe, Melanie Brook, Takaya Abdou Lloyd, Serena Laurel, and Josh Richards, marking the film debut of the latter social influencer. Pic also features an appearance by a Warped Tour mainstay—pop-punk band, Simple Plan.

Jhene Chase directed from a script she co-wrote with Camille and Hamid Torabpour. Producers on the Winterstate film included Stelio Savante,
See full article at Deadline »

Ex-Paramount Exec Jared Sleisenger Joins CrossCheck Studios As Head Of Television

Ex-Paramount Exec Jared Sleisenger Joins CrossCheck Studios As Head Of Television
Exclusive: Former Paramount exec Jared Sleisenger has joined emerging production company CrossCheck Studios as its head of television.

CrossCheck, which focuses on Gen Z content creators from various sectors, is a joint venture with Unrealistic Ideas, a production company founded by Mark Wahlberg, Archie Gips and Stephen Levenson. Entrepreneur and social media influencer Josh Richards runs CrossCheck, and Michael Gruen and Chris Sawtelle are its co-presidents.

As VP of television, Sleisenger will oversee all scripted and unscripted TV projects.

“We’re excited to have Jared leading our television division,” Richards said. “Jared is a creative force who has led marquee projects across multiple platforms. We can’t wait to see all that he’ll accomplish.”

In a three-year run at Paramount Television Studios, Sleisenger contributed to the development of American Gigolo for Showtime, The Devil in the White City for Hulu, The Talisman for Netflix, and the untitled Justin Timberlake/Chuck Barris project for Apple.
See full article at Deadline »

ICM Agent Chris Sawtelle Exits To Join Josh Richards And Michael Gruen’s CrossCheck Holdings

ICM Agent Chris Sawtelle Exits To Join Josh Richards And Michael Gruen’s CrossCheck Holdings
ICM talent agent and head of digital ventures Chris Sawtelle is leaving the firm to become co-president of CrossCheck Holdings, the sports, entertainment, and marketing company founded by ICM clients Josh Richards and Michael Gruen. CrossCheck’s holdings include CrossCheck Studios, the production studio Richards and Gruen launched earlier this year in a deal with Mark […]

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ICM Agent Chris Sawtelle Exiting To Become Co-President Of Client Josh Richards’ CrossCheck Holdings

ICM Agent Chris Sawtelle Exiting To Become Co-President Of Client Josh Richards’ CrossCheck Holdings
Exclusive: ICM agent Chris Sawtelle is wrapping up a three-year stint at the firm and transitioning to the role of co-president at agency client Josh Richards’ CrossCheck Holdings.

CrossCheck was founded by Richards, who has a following of tens of millions across digital platforms and is active as an influencer, entrepreneur, musician and actor, among other disciplines. He heads up CrossCheck Studios, a joint venture production company launched with partners including Mark Wahlberg. He is also co-founder of TikTok management and production company TalentX and co-hosts the BFFs Podcast with Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports.

Sawtelle will help lead CrossCheck alongside Richards’ business partner, Michael Gruen, who is also co-president. ICM will continue to rep the company and its principals and expressed support for Sawtelle’s move.

“We’re excited to continue working with Chris in this new capacity,” Gruen said. “Not only is Chris one of the most ambitious,
See full article at Deadline »

NHL Names TikTok Star Josh Richards ‘Special Advisor’ In Bid To Amplify Gen Z Viewership

NHL Names TikTok Star Josh Richards ‘Special Advisor’ In Bid To Amplify Gen Z Viewership
TikTok megastar, entrepreneur, and noted hockey fan Josh Richards has been tapped by the National Hockey League (NHL) to serve as a special adviser.

The Toronto native, 19, who grew up attending Maple Leafs games, will seek to grow the league’s youth viewership by making appearances at NHL marquee events, and sharing ideas for future fan development efforts.

He will be debuting in his role tomorrow, participating in a one-on-one conversation with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, which will live on the NHL’s social and digital channels.

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Asad J. Malik, the Hologram-Loving Virtual-Reality Entrepreneur — Future 25

Asad J. Malik, the Hologram-Loving Virtual-Reality Entrepreneur — Future 25
This story appears in Rolling Stone‘s 2021 Future of Music issue, a special project delving into the next era of the multibillion-dollar hitmaking business. Read the other stories here.

Holograms aren’t a pipe dream anymore. If you ask Asad J. Malik, they’ll be soon one of the most important marketing opportunities in the music business.

“We aren’t far at all. People are ready for more at scale,” says Malik, who at 25 is the founder and CEO of an augmented-reality company. “On one hand, you have Instagram and
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Josh Richards And Griffin Johnson Launch Gen Z-Focused Marketing Firm ‘HawkeZ’

Josh Richards And Griffin Johnson Launch Gen Z-Focused Marketing Firm ‘HawkeZ’
TikTok stars and entrepreneurial duo Josh Richards and Griffin Johnson, who count a combined 50 million followers across all platforms, have launched yet another business venture together.

The former Sway Housers have pacted with Erik Huberman, the founder and CEO of marketing consultancy Hawke Media, to launch HawkeZ -- which, as its name suggests, is a spin-off agency squarely focused on selling to the Gen Z set.

Hawke Media bills itself as an outsourced CMO to clients including Red Bull, Alibaba, and Proactiv. HawkeZ will provide comprehensive advertising and multimedia support, including social, search, email, chatbots, branding, production, and more.

Richards and Johnson will serve as creative directors for the new agency, while Huberman will manage day-to-day operations. The agency says its first signed client is footwear brand Crocs, which has onboarded HawkeZ as part of a larger marketing push targeting younger shoppers.

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TikTokers-Investors Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, And Noah Beck Launch Vc Firm ‘Animal Capital’

TikTokers-Investors Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, And Noah Beck Launch Vc Firm ‘Animal Capital’
TikTok megastars Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, and Noah Beck have already pursued myriad entrepreneurial and venture capital opportunities while at the height of their social media fame. And now, the trio -- who rose to renown as members of the Sway LA creator collective -- are formalizing these efforts with the launch of a new Vc firm called Animal Capital.

The Gen Z-focused company will focus on investing in pre-seed and series A-stage startups in the consumer, financial technology, health and wellness, and media spaces, it says. In addition to providing funding, scaling, and go-to-market strategies, the guys will be using their massive social reach to promote companies in which they have claimed a stake. The Animal Capital website boasts that the guys count 100 million engaged fans globally.

Richards, Johnson, and Beck will serve as operating partners, and will be joined at Animal by managing partners Marshall Sandman and Michael Gruen,
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TikTok Collective Sway LA To Drop ‘Sway Life’ Reality Series On Facebook Watch, Igtv

TikTok Collective Sway LA To Drop ‘Sway Life’ Reality Series On Facebook Watch, Igtv
Members of the formally-disbanded TikTok collective Sway LA are set to star in a brand new reality series chronicling their lives as social media superstars.

Noah Beck, Kio Cyr, Blake Gray, Bryce Hall, Griffin Johnson, and Josh Richards will headline Sway Life, People reports, chronicling the TikTok house’s friendships, heartbreaks, and online scandals..

The series will be available on Facebook’s family of apps, including Facebook Watch, Instagram’s Igtv, and the Messenger Watch Together feature, which enables co-viewing via video or text. The series is produced by veteran reality TV production company Bunim-Murray and ReKTX, a new division at esports firm RekTGlobal, formed in the wake of its acquisition of Sway's parent company TalentX Entertainment earlier this month.

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Bryce Hall Addresses Those Josie Canseco Rumors After Addison Rae Split

According to Bryce Hall, he has, in fact, hooked up with someone since he and Addison Rae officially broke up one month ago. The question is: Who? Two days after Addison let slip that she and Bryce are over, he addressed their split and a potential new woman in his life during a live chat on BFFs with Dave Portnoy and Josh Richards on Thursday, March 25. The TikTok star, 21, was very secretive when discussing recent rumors that he's been hooking up with his "homie," Josie Canseco, who recently dated Logan Paul but was seen cuddling with G-Eazy at a party on Feb. 27. "People didn't know that we were broken up, and now are saying that I cheated on...
See full article at E! Online »

Josh Richards’ CrossCheck Studios Names Brianna Solo Director Of Development

Josh Richards’ CrossCheck Studios Names Brianna Solo Director Of Development
The creator and entrepreneur Josh Richards has announced a new hire for his just-formed content studio, CrossCheck.

CrossCheck was founded by Richards (who serves as CEO) and his business partner, Michael Gruen (president), and marks a joint venture with Unrealistic Ideas -- the production company founded by the actor Mark Wahlberg, his longtime manager Stephen Levinson, and filmmaker Archie Gips. CrossCheck will focus on creating content focused for Gen Z, with Unrealistic providing development and production resources.

The one-month-old company has now hired Brianna Solo as its director of development. In this role, Solo will help source and develop content ideas to bring to market. Once a project is sold, she’ll work with network partners to further development and production.

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Esports Firm ReKTGlobal Acquires Sway LA’s Parent Company TalentX Entertainment

Esports Firm ReKTGlobal Acquires Sway LA’s Parent Company TalentX Entertainment
Gen Z-focused esports firm ReKTGlobl has acquired digital talent management company TalentX Entertainment. A rep for TalentX did not respond to request for comment about the financial terms of the deal. 

TalentX helped cultivate some of biggest stars on TikTok, including creator collective Sway LA, which comprises Gen Z heartthrobs Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, Bryce Hall, Noah Beck, and Blake Gray. That said, Sway formally disbanded last month. TalentX's founding team consists of CEO Warren Lentz, chief strategy officer Jason Wilhelm, VP of talent Michael Gruen, and Richards. 

ReKTGlobal previously collaborated with TalentX on a joint venture called TalentX Gaming (Txg), which was formed last May. That talent management shop was dedicated to esports and gaming creators, and was led by Wilhelm. Txg also saw the formation of a gamer-focused creator collective dubbed SwayGaming.

Now that TalentX has been fully absorbed, however, TalentX Gaming and TalentX Entertainment will be consolidated
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Social Media Star Josh Richards Partners With Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas to Form CrossCheck Studios

Social Media Star Josh Richards Partners With Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas to Form CrossCheck Studios
Unrealistic Ideas — the production company led by Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Archie Gips — is expanding its interests by aligning with social media phenom Josh Richards and his business partner Michael Gruen to launch CrossCheck Studios.

The new production company will focus on Gen Z content creators across all sectors of entertainment with an eye on becoming the go-to company for internet-native creatives. Per today’s announcement, the team has put together a slate of material that is being kept under wraps for now while, at the same time, scouting new projects. Richards, 19, tells The Hollywood Reporter that the ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

Sway LA Invests In ‘Sillybandz’ Ahead Of Once-Beloved Bracelet Brand’s Relaunch

Sway LA Invests In ‘Sillybandz’ Ahead Of Once-Beloved Bracelet Brand’s Relaunch
Two entities beloved by teens of different eras are joining forces in a new collaboration.

Sway LA, the TikTok creator house comprising Noah Beck, Bryce Hall, Griffin Johnson, Blake Gray, and Josh Richards, have tendered an investment in the beloved collectible toy brand Sillybandz. While the guys have made a slew of individual investments, this marks Sway’s first stake as a group. The size of the investment was undisclosed.

Sillybandz are silicone rubber bracelets that come in packs of 24, and are sold according to different themes, including animals, holidays, and celebrities (thanks to licensing deals with the Kardashians and Justin Bieber). When not being worn as bracelets, Sillybandz revert to their various original shapes. The product was created by the entrepreneur Robert Cloak and rose to popularity in the early 2010s, whereupon they even became traded as collectibles, particularly their rarer iterations.

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VidCon Now To Launch Monthly ‘VidTalks’ Interview Series With Jim Louderback

VidCon Now To Launch Monthly ‘VidTalks’ Interview Series With Jim Louderback
VidCon is set to return to Anaheim this summer, but in the meantime, it's forging onward with VidCon Now -- a virtual iteration of the convention that launched last summer.

Beginning next week, VidCon Now will introduce two new monthly series -- both of which will live within its ‘industry’ programming track. (VidCon also creates content targeting 'creators' and members of the online video 'community' at large).

The first series, bowing Feb. 9, is titled VidTalks and will see VidCon general manager Jim Louderback discussing trending topics in the digital landscape with industry experts and top creators. The pilot installment will feature Louderback in conversation with Breakr co-founders Anthony and Ameer Brown. The two brothers will discuss their startup, which links up influencers with musicians for promotional purposes, and which has recently garnered investments from two Sway LA-affiliated TikTok stars: Josh Richards and Griffin Johnson.

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Josh Richards And Griffin Johnson Invest In ‘Breakr’, Which Pairs Influencers With Emerging Musicians

Josh Richards And Griffin Johnson Invest In ‘Breakr’, Which Pairs Influencers With Emerging Musicians
Two members of TikTok creator collective Sway LA -- who have increasingly dipped their toes into the Vc sphere -- have tendered their latest investment in a nascent networking app that helps influencers break emerging musicians.

Josh Richards, a co-founder of Sway's parent company TalentX Entertainment, and fellow Sway House member Griffin Johnson have invested in Breakr, Billboard reports. The size of their investments was not disclosed.

Breakr was co-founded by a group of Hbcu alumni in November, including brothers Ameer and Tony Brown, Daniel Ware, and Rotimi Omosheyim. Influencers create profiles on Breakr with their pay rates and music preferences, enabling musicians to purchase campaigns on TikTok, Triller, and Instagram. Artists also create profiles on the app, where they can submit their music for influencers to review. Billboard notes that all deals are conducted on the app, with Breakr pocketing a 10% cut.

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Breaking Down the Feud Between TikTok Star Bryce Hall and Barstool's Dave Portnoy

TikTok star Bryce Hall and Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy will not be sharing a pizza anytime soon.  The pair's feud has reached a fever pitch on social media this week. The back-and-forth was apparently spurred on Thursday, Dec. 11 when the Twitter account for BFFs, Portnoy's podcast with TikTok personality Josh Richards, shared an image appearing to indicate that Hall had been listening to the song "E-er." The DJ Scheme track that dropped on Dec. 4 features rapper Lil Yachty making a sexually suggestive reference to Hall's girlfriend Addison Rae, for which Lil Yachty later apologized. "This you?" the BFFs tweet questioned, tagging both Hall and Lil...
See full article at E! Online »

Sunset Boulevard Country Western Staple Becomes New TikTok Hotspot

Sunset Boulevard Country Western Staple Becomes New TikTok Hotspot
The line stretching down Sunset Boulevard outside Saddle Ranch of late isn’t to ride the 21-year institution’s famed mechanical bull, which has been sitting unused since the restaurant had to close its door to indoor dining in March. No, it’s diners eager to eat at the latest TikTok hotspot.

In recent weeks, digital stars including Addison Rae (63 million followers), Dixie D’Amelio (40 million) Josh Richards (22 million) and Noah Beck (15.6 million) have all been spotted at the restaurant’s new Covid-compliant parking lot patio. It’s become such a magnet for digital stars that Hollywood Fix paparazzo Fletcher Greene likens ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

Sway LA’s Josh Richards, Bryce Hall, Griffin Johnson Invest In Lendtable’s $3 Million Seed Round

Sway LA’s Josh Richards, Bryce Hall, Griffin Johnson Invest In Lendtable’s $3 Million Seed Round
Lendtable, a startup that provides users with cash advances so that they are able to fully contribute to their employer-matched 401(k) retirement accounts, has caught the eye of several top TikTok stars -- a trio of whom participated in its just-announced $3 million seed round.

Josh Richards (22 million TikTok followers), Bryce Hall (13.9 million), and Griffin Johnson (9.1 million) are all members of TikTok creator collective Sway LA -- though the guys also boast sizable presences across other platforms, including YouTube and Instagram.

While rocketing to fame for their heartthrob status, dancing acumen, and comedy and stunt-ridden vlogs, each of the guys has made a stated foray into the business realm in recent months. Hall, for his part, even launched a podcast earlier this week called Capital University alongside the investor and entrepreneur Anthony ‘Pomp’ Pompliano, which will cover the basics of investing as well as Hall’s own financial journey -- including his experiences being young,
See full article at Tubefilter News »
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