SB.TV inks venture capital deal


Even if Jamal Edwards has already made grand strides with SB.TV over the last seven years, they're about to get even bigger. The upstart has just received investment from Miroma Ventures, a venture capital firm based in London that already owns Pinterest among other companies.

So what do we know about the deal and what does it mean for SB.TV? Neither the investor or Edwards have disclosed the size of the investment, but  Miroma has committed to take part in a £1m financing at a later date. Since the company will be scaling up over time, this implies SB.TV has received something in the range of £500,000 or less, especially considering that Miroma has taken a minority stake.

And what can you do with £500,000? A fair bit when you consider the YouTube channel was set up with next to nothing. Half a million can get you a sales team to grow ad revenues, web bods to build you new apps and promoters to roll out events. That's not to mention the gains to be had from a Pinterest shareholder at your disposal – Miroma's founder Marc Boyan will take a seat on the board.

So what's the end game? When you look at News Corp's recent purchase of Vice, it wouldn't be surprising if other media groups wanted to take over SB.TV in due course – if they don't already.

The big question, however, will be how the channel continues to cater to what is still largely a hip hop and grime audience while at the same time growing. It already dominates that market in Britain. To go beyond it will mean diversifying and risks alienating a core readership and diluting the brand. That doesn't mean it can't succeed: Vice has no shortage of readers, it's just that Rupert Murdoch's money blunted its hipster edge, if only momentarily. For now, expect SB.TV to make its commanding presence felt even more.

To that end, The Economist's sister title Intelligent Life has just run Mr Edwards on their latest cover.