Apr 9, 2024 - Business

Dude Perfect scores more than $100M investment


Dude Perfect at YouTube Brandcast 2019 in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/FilmMagic for YouTube

Dude Perfect, a group of sports and comedy show hosts that started on YouTube 15 years ago, has raised more than $100 million from private investment firm Highmount Capital.

Why it matters: The money will help drive Dude Perfect's expansion into a larger media company, building out more opportunities beyond YouTube.

Catch up quick: The five co-founders — Cody Jones, Garrett Hilbert, Tyler Toney, Cory Cotton, and Coby Cotton — were roommates at Texas A&M University. They began making YouTube videos in April 2009, specializing in basketball trick shots and other stunts.

  • The Frisco, Texas-based company has since amassed more than 60 million YouTube subscribers and has expanded to TV shows, games, toys, events and more.

Zoom in: The investment is Dude Perfect's first raise. The group previously put its profits into its own growth. Revenue is estimated to exceed $50 million this year, according to the company. That's up from $25 million in 2022 and $20 million in 2021, as previously reported by the Wall Street Journal.

  • Dude Perfect plans to use the money to build a management team and grow its team of about 25 people. It is already in conversations with several CEO candidates, co-founder Coby Cotton tells Axios.
  • It is also interested in global growth, noting about half of its YouTube audience is international. The group is planning an international tour and considering translating videos.
  • Coby Cotton says Dude Perfect sees opportunities in more events, like a traveling show or a permanent exhibit. Its third headquarters, opening this summer, will have a retail store.
  • CAA Evolution, a new sports and entertainment merchant bank, served as financial adviser and King & Spalding as legal adviser to Dude Perfect. Stinson LLP represented Highmount Capital.

What they're saying: Highmount Capital's chief investment officer and general partner David Hawkins tells Axios that his firm was attracted to the strength of Dude Perfect's brand and business.

  • Hawkins says his three boys — ages 5, 8 and 10 — are "super fans" and that he trusts Dude Perfect's content is suitable and enjoyable for all of them to watch.
  • "The most valuable thing we've done these last 15 years is build trust with families and then ... build trust with the brands," Coby Cotton says. "It's been primarily content. ... Now we want those families to actually touch and feel that fun themselves."

Between the lines: Companies have partnered with Dude Perfect to reach younger demographics.

The big picture: The deal is part of a bigger trend of private investment firms investing in YouTube-grown talent to take their massive online audiences to more established platforms and grow other revenue streams.

  • Blackstone-backed Candle Media acquired CoComelon parent company Moonbug Entertainment for roughly $3 billion in 2021.
  • Recurrent Ventures, a venture equity-backed digital media rollup company, acquired Donut Media, the largest automotive brand on YouTube, in 2021.
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