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After Sale to Disney, Maker Studios' Last Two Founders Leave

Siblings Lisa and Ben Donovan, two of the YouTube network's three founders, are out.

Lisa Donovan via Twitter
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Lisa Donovan and Ben Donovan, who helped found YouTube network Maker Studios, have left the company.

Their departure, which was announced internally earlier this week, comes three months after Disney acquired Maker in a deal that could ultimately be worth $950 million.

The siblings were two of Maker’s founders. The third, former CEO Danny Zappin, left in 2013 and is now suing the company. He argues that the company’s managers, including the Donovans, maneuvered to dilute his ownership and push him out of the startup.

Here’s a statement from Maker: “Lisa and Ben have left the company. They will always be an important part of the Maker family. We are forever grateful for their pioneering vision in founding the company five years ago that has since become the world’s leading provider of online video content for millennials. Lisa and Ben are among the most creative people we know and we wish them all the best.”

The Donovans had been on Maker’s board up until the Disney deal closed, but no longer had formal roles at the company by the time they left. Both worked on the company’s creative side, and Lisa Donovan — who had dated Zappin while the two of them worked at Maker — had been an early YouTube star.

Earlier this week, Maker announced it had hired new managers who had worked at AOL and Yahoo.

This article originally appeared on

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