Caffeine Raises $113 Million to Take Live Rap Battles Mainstream
Twitch built an internet giant around people’s love of video games. Caffeine is trying to do the same with music competition.
A live-streaming website, Caffeine said Thursday it raised $113 million to invest in new forms of entertainment that users can watch and engage with in real time. The aim is to differentiate its programming from industry leaders Twitch and YouTube.
Media giant Fox Corp., Cox Enterprises Inc. and Sanabil Investments led the investment round, joined by the Silicon Valley venture-capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners. The new funding values the company at more than $600 million, according to Caffeine officials.
The company has attracted more than 2 million users since launching to the public in November, and has positioned itself as an alternative to Twitch, Amazon.com Inc.’s dominant site in live streaming. While Twitch caters to gamers, Caffeine has had its biggest success with rap-music competition, in particular the Ultimate Rap League, an organization founded in 2009 by hip-hop promoter Troy Mitchell, recording artist Jean “Cheeko” French and Eric Beasley.