Streaming Bundler Struum, Founded By Disney And Discovery Alums, Closes $7M Series A Round Led By Canada’s Corus

Struum, a streaming aggregator created by former Disney and Discovery executives and backed by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, has closed a $7 million Series A funding round.

Canada’s Corus Entertainment led the round, which will enable Struum to expand internationally, starting with Canada. Also participating in the Series A was Gaingels, which describes itself as “the leading investment syndicate in support of and representing the LGBTQ community and allies in the venture capital space.” Eisner’s involvement is via the Tornante Company, the investment firm he created in 2005 upon leaving Disney.

Struum now has carriage deals with 60 streaming providers and delivers customers access to all of them through a streamlined offering priced at $5 a month. The glut of streaming services in the marketplace — hundreds of subscription ones and thousands of free, ad-supported ones — along with friction in the user experience helped inspire the creation of Struum. Its content sources include BBC Select, Tastemade, Tribeca, Cheddar News, Indieflix, Cinedigm and Magnolia Pictures, among many others, with tens of thousands of films and series episodes available. While Disney has bundled its three main streaming services and Discovery executives have signaled they will do the same once the company’s merger with WarnerMedia closes, the pay-TV bundle has given way to a fragmented marketplace.

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In addition to expansion outside the U.S., the new resources will enable Struum to expand its content library and enhance its technology features. Along with the funding, Struum is also expanding the reach of the service beyond iOS to Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV.

Struum launched a preview last May, debuting a credit-based subscription model the company calls the first of its kind. It lets viewers sample and discover programming as they spend monthly credits to unlock only the film and TV episodes they want to watch.

The company was founded by Lauren DeVillier, former head of product for Discovery Ventures and head of digital for Disney Channels; Eugene Liew, former VP of product and technology at Disney+; Paul Pastor, former EVP of Strategy, Revenue and Operations at Discovery Networks; and Thomas Wadsworth, former lead of advanced product development for Walt Disney Imagineering. In addition to Eisner, the company has recruited a number of media and tech vets for its advisory board and executive team. Among them are former CBS Entertainment and Xbox Entertainment chief Nancy Tellem; former president of Disney/ABC Television Distribution Ben Pyne; and Donald Hicks, VP of trust policy and partnerships at Airbnb.

“My co-founders and I are thrilled to have Corus Entertainment invest in this round alongside Gaingels,” DeVillier said in the funding announcement. “Our early traction with consumers proves there is a strong interest and demand for a service like Struum.  With continued support from Tornante and specifically, Michael Eisner and now Doug Murphy at Corus Entertainment, we look forward to reaching our goal of bringing more content to the service, expanding our platform reach and launching in more territories beyond the U.S.”

Murphy, who is CEO of Corus, said Struum is “at the forefront of innovation with its unique credit-based subscription service, backed by a talented team of senior executives with deep experience in the subscription video and content space.”

Pastor who is chief business officer of Struum, said the company’s new investors “will play a pivotal role in enabling us to further build out a world class user experience that enables us to over deliver on our mission and establish us as a key player in the streaming industry.”

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