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WPP invests in hip-hop icon Russell Simmons’ media firm All Def Digital

WPP invests in hip-hop icon Russell Simmons’ media firm All Def Digital

WPP is to invest in US digital media company All Def Digital, founded by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, the co-founder of renowned record label Def Jam Recordings.

Russell Simmons ADD
ADD founder Russell Simmons

ADD has raised $10m in the Series B funding round. Existing investors in Simmons’ business include Greycroft Partners, Advancit Capital, Nu Horizons Investments and

WPP will be hoping to draw on ADD’s expertise in developing music and video content tailored for urban US audiences, as well as its 100 million-strong audience across YouTube and Facebook.

It offers advertisers an in-house creative team, as well as its own record label in partnership with Universal Music Group. ADD also operates a network of online influencers, including social video stars and hip-hop recording artists.

“For the next phase of growth, we chose investors who understand what we are building at All Def across all media – from digital series to live events, from Facebook to premium series and feature films,” said Simmons.

“We chose partners who understand the value of our consumer brand, our talent relationships and fans, and the white space we’re filling.”

ADD chief executive Sanjay Sharma added: “Our partners – the most important and influential firms in media, marketing and technology – share our vision that cultural and demographic shifts, coupled with the massive disruption of the traditional media industry by online video, social and mobile, create a singular opportunity for us to create a new class of data oriented media business.

“Hip hop is a global cultural movement touching all aspects of life, from music to art to fashion, to language itself, and at the very heart of youth culture. Millennials and Gen Z are the most demographically diverse cohorts in history, incredibly influential and equally hard to reach through traditional media.”

ADD, which was founded in 2013, counts NBCUniversal and Samsung among its clients. The firm employs 35 staff, and is based in Los Angeles.

Earlier today (29 June), WPP unveiled details of a strategic partnership with Chinese internet giant Tencent.