Former 'Top Gear' Trio Raise $5.5 Million Funding Round To Launch New Digital Platform

DRIVETRIBE, a next-generation digital media platform dedicated to motoring and adventure, announced it has completed a $5.5. million Series A funding round led by Breyer Capital with additional participation by Atomico and other individual investors.

DRIVETRIBE, which expects to officially launch in November 2016, aims to become the top digital publishing home for motoring. The company was co-founded by a five-member team, including former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, former Top Gear Executive Producer Andy Wilman and serial technology and media entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt. The platform will support video, articles, social and interactive content – structured into different content streams called “tribes” – each with their own unique characteristics and personality. Tribes will be hosted by Clarkson, Hammond and May, along with invited stars, bloggers, writers and videographers, who will all generate and curate their own content for fans.

DRIVETRIBE has already attracted bids to host tribes from over 2,000 of the world’s biggest motoring names, commentators and content creators, with over 150 million established followers between them. Current tribes in creation range from F1 and NASCAR drivers at one end, to Tokyo drift culture, women’s motocross and street racing in South Africa at the other. DRIVETRIBE relies on a highly advanced technology stack that tailors content to specific audiences, enabling content generators to understand and segment audiences, optimize content for engagement and publish it seamlessly into social timelines.

“Our team recognized the huge untapped potential in the digital motoring sphere: there are over 400 million motoring fans on Facebook alone,” said Ernesto Schmitt, Co-Founder and CEO of DRIVETRIBE. “In spite of motoring’s near universal appeal across a diverse range of audiences, not one of the Top 500 web destinations is dedicated to cars. DRIVETRIBE will change that by not only helping to create and house original content from thousands of creators around the world, but also by using technology and artificial intelligence to optimize that content for specific audiences.”

“DRIVETRIBE is rooted in an incredibly forward-thinking approach to both content creation and consumption: one that recognizes the importance of artificial intelligence in facilitating real audience engagement,” said Jim Breyer, Founder and CEO of Breyer Capital. “The media landscape is undergoing a rapid transformation as traditional distribution methods fade in dominance, while the barriers between creators and consumers simultaneously breakdown. In this new media world, the ability to facilitate audience engagement on a global scale is key to success and I look forward to collaborating with the DRIVETRIBE team whose combination of creative and technical excellence will help them create the premier next-generation automotive media platform.”

Richard Hammond, Co-Founder, said: “The backing of proper, serious grown-ups like Breyer and Atomico confirms our confidence that we've hit a real nerve with DRIVETRIBE. And the huge flood of submissions from content-makers wanting to lead their own tribes tells us we're definitely not alone. Of course Jeremy is convinced his tribe will be bigger than everyone else’s, and James reckons he’ll easily be beaten by the Austin Allegro Appreciation Tribe. But they're both mad. Hammond's Fob Jockeys will be bigger than both.”

Mattias Ljungman, Partner at Atomico, said: "The way we watch, read and listen to content continues to be transformed. Today's media companies are driven by data and have access to ever-increasing distribution channels. As a result we've seen global brands and niche groups build successful media platforms that serve global audiences hungry for compelling content. Motoring fans make up an enormous market that has been long-overlooked, until now. The team behind DRIVETRIBE are a formidable force. We’re confident that with their grasp of the sector, the loyalty they command and the tech talent they’ve assembled, DRIVETRIBE will be become the leading destination for motoring media content."

SOURCE: DriveTribe