Direct Investments in Rights-Tech Companies Hit $95 Million in First Half of 2017

RightsTech companies have raised nearly $95 million in direct investment so far in 2017, according to data compiled by the RightsTech Project, kicked off by Dubset Media’s $4 million Series A round in February.

That figure does not include outright acquisitions, such as Blackstone Capital’s acquisition of performance rights organization SESAC in January, which included the rights management technology platform Rumblefish along with the Harry Fox Agency.

The bulk of the rights-tech investments this year is accounted for by Kobalt Music’s $75 million Series D raise in May, led by Hearst Entertainment, bringing its total capitalization to more than $100 million to date. As with Blackstone’s acquisition of SESAC, much of the investment in Kobalt is premised on the perceived asset value of the rights it controls. But part of the valuation reflects Kobalt’s ability to monetize those rights using its technology platform.

Growing investor interest in the direct monetization of rights is also reflected in Royalty Exchange’s $6.4 million convertible note offering, which more than doubled the company’s original target of $3 million. Denver-based Royalty Exchange allows artists to offer interest in their future royalty stream to investors through the sale of royalty-backed assets.

Other notable raises this year include blockchain-based rights registry Binded (formerly Blockai), which raised $950,000 in June, bringing its total to date to $1.5 million, and music rights payment platform Stem, which raised $8 million.

Company Description Amount raised Investors
Kobalt Music rights and publishing platform $75 million Hearst Entertainment, Balderton Capital, MSD Capital
Dubset DJ remix rights clearance platform $  4 million Cue Ball Capital
Stem Music rights payment platform $  8 million Evolution Media, Aspect Ventures, Upfront Ventures.
Binded Blockchain-based rights registry for visual arts $950,000  Mistletoe, Asahi Shimbun, and Vectr Ventures
Royalty Exchange Music-royalty based asset exchange $ 6.4 million Convertible debt offering

Notable rights-tech direct investments in 2016, included visual arts registry and authentication platform ascribe, which raised $6 million, rights registration and marketplace platform Monegraph, which raised about $4 million, music rights management platform Revelator, which took in about $3.5 million artCOA, which raised $5 million.

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