When Maker Studios co-founder and former CEO Danny Zappin launched Zealot Networks last August with an initial $25 million in funding, it was billed as a “digital-first media company and growth accelerator that empowers creative entrepreneurs and talent.”
Its formula would involve “multi-platform revenue, distribution and growth opportunities,” the startup said, but what that meant from a practical standpoint was anybody’s guess.
The picture got a little clearer with Tuesday’s announcement that Zealot has acquired creative marketing companies Neighbor Agency and Idea Farmer, a step the company says signifies its move towards integrated brand marketing and original content creation, with a focus on food/beverage, travel and lifestyle.
Zealot plans to use the acquisitions to help brands elevate their cultural status by creating content in collaboration with digital influencers and leveraging its audience network to promote it.
Based in Venice, Calif., Neighbor Agency is a full-service creative marketing firm run and founded by president Linda Price that develops brand-building strategies for clients such as Tillamook, Safeway/Lucerne Foods, Pinkberry, La Brea Bakery and Liberty School Wines.
Led by founder Josh Beane, L.A.-based Idea Farmer is a multi-platform content creation studio that has worked with brands, artists, ad agencies and studios such as Jenn-Air, Liz Goldwyn, Endemol, Shutterfly, Pulse Films and KitchenAid.
In December, Zealot scored an investment from U.K. broadcaster ITV, bringing the company’s value to more than $100 million, according to a press release. The money was earmarked to support the build out of Zealot’s digital studio and its mergers and acquisitions activities. It came days after the company announced it had acquired a majority stake in AudioMicro, parent company of YouTube music licensing and administration platform AdRev.