Israel's The Box Secures Funding from Greylock Partners to Target US and Other International Markets

--Company's Offerings Include "CelebZ," a Viewer-Driven, Animated Interactive TV Series

The Box, an Israeli company that bills itself as specializing in developing "content for broadcast entertainment and advertising that seamlessly integrates multiple forms of media, including television, Internet and mobile, into an innovative blend of advertising and entertainment," said Thursday that it has received an investment of "several million dollars" from VC firm, Greylock Partners (note: the latter's other investments include Facebook, LinkedIn, ZipCar and DoubleClick). The company plans to use the new funding for international expansion, including hiring new staff, opening a US office in the Los Angeles area, and ramping up activities in London and Paris. As part of its funding deal, it has added two new members to its board: Moshe Mor, a partner at Greylock's Israeli subsidiary, and David Chissick, a media and technology entrepreneur who The Box says has an extensive track record of identifying promising international entertainment-related businesses and introducing them to the US media industry.

The Box claims to have produced cross-platform, new-media advertising campaigns for such brands as Nike, Coca Cola, Orange, Doritos and Disney. Most interestingly, it recently launched a 30-minute primetime animated series, entitled "CelebZ," which it says allows viewers to "create 25% of the show's content" using its proprietary interactive content creation platform. According to the company, the show's companion Web site allows viewers to drag and drop characters, backgrounds, scripts and music, in order to create sketches. The viewer-created sketches are put to a nationwide vote, and the winning sketch is then professional produced and integrated into the following week's episode. The series currently airs on the Yes Stars channel of Israel's Yes satellite-TV platform, and, according to The Box, will soon be produced in other territories worldwide. "Great content businesses transcend borders, and the same Israeli entrepreneurial culture that has spawned new TV programs and advertising here can help reshape the digital media landscape somewhere else," Greylock's Moshe Mor said in a prepared statement. "In just a few short years, The Box has become a leading entertainment and creative firm in Israel, and a pioneer in integrating different media platforms in breakthrough ways, such as it's done with the 'CelebZ' series. We are delighted to help The Box to accelerate its growth and global aspirations." Added The Box founder and CEO, Eli Uzan: "We develop creative that makes people sit on the edge of their seats, with cross-platform programs that are truly out of the box. With the additional funding from Greylock, we can focus on increasing these activities and partnerships abroad so we can deliver our creativity as well as compelling TV programs and 'advertainment' campaigns for major brands in all territories. We are very pleased to join forces with Greylock and David Chissick, and are sure that the collaboration will contribute to the company's success and its global objectives."

Middle East