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Raine Group Adds Online Video Pioneer Mika Salmi as Adviser

Remember AtomFilms? Yeah, that guy.

Raine Group, the high-profile merchant bank that has been making some interesting moves in the digital content arena of late, has added well-known entrepreneur Mika Salmi as a senior adviser.

Salmi, who was a pioneer in the online video space via Atom Entertainment, will focus on digital media and tech efforts at the firm and will be based in San Francisco.

Most recently, Salmi was CEO of CreativeLive, a social video service aimed at the continuing education market. It has raised $30 million in funding from venture firms including Greylock Partners and Social + Capital Partnership.

But he is best known for his work at Atom, the user-generated online video platform that was sold to Viacom in 2006 for $200 million. Salmi served as president of global digital media at the entertainment giant and later was founder and CEO of Mad Races, a mobile gaming company sold to Betaworks in 2010.

“I was attracted to Raine because they are focused on the intersection of media and tech, but are more of a neutral party,” said Salmi in an interview. “They are also not in the scrum of Silicon Valley, but also have a lot access.”

Other senior advisers at Raine have included former Demand Media CEO and co-founder Richard Rosenblatt and Steve Bornstein, former NFL Network CEO.

Raine — which was founded five years ago by Joe Ravitch and Jeff Sine, with WME Entertainment — has made a number of interesting investments with its initial $400 million private equity growth fund. That includes fantasy sports site DraftKings, Important Studios from “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Zumba Fitness (yes, that Zumba) and Vice Media. It also has an earlier-stage venture arm and a hedge fund.

Raine also offers advisory services, such as its recent work for former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. Earlier, it helped Japan’s SoftBank acquire Sprint and also advised Current TV in its sale to Al Jazeera.

According to sources, Raine is completing the raising of another much larger fund. It has six partners now, including the recent addition of Fred Davis.

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