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The man who sold Disney a $670 million video company is betting on a subscription service for pop culture geeks

Ynon Kreiz, formerly the CEO of Maker Studios, is investing in Loot Crate.

loot crate
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.

Five years ago, media executive Ynon Kreiz invested in Los Angeles-based Maker Studios, and that did pretty well: In 2014, Maker sold to Disney in what ended up becoming a $670 million deal.

Now Kreiz is putting money into another LA company, but this deal is a bit different.

Instead of an advertising-supported online video startup, Kreiz is backing an e-commerce play: He’s investing in Loot Crate, which sells monthly subscriptions of boxes filled with t-shirts, collectibles and other novelties aimed at pop culture nerds.*

The idea is that Loot Crate, which sold more than $150 million worth of this stuff last year, can scale beyond its core base of superhero/anime/sci-fi fans, while leaping over hurdles that have tripped up other stuff-in-a-box subscription services.

Kreiz and Loot Crate won’t spell out how much he’s putting into the company, but people familiar with Loot Crate say it’s less than $1 million. So far Loot Crate has raised $15 million from investors, led by Upfront Ventures (that’s the same firm that helped Maker get off the ground).

Kreiz will chair Loot Crate’s board, which is where he started out at Maker before eventually becoming that company’s CEO. Presumably that’s not his intention here: Kreiz spent a good chunk of last year trying unsuccessfully to take over Time Inc. Since that deal is dead, I assume he will try something else with similar scale.

* Loot Crate’s site tells search engines it’s the place to buy a “Geek Subscription Box for Gamers” but it now prefers the term “fans.”

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