RealTime IT News

Urban Box Office Founder Dies

Silicon Alley start-up Urban Box Office suffered a tragically ironic turn of events this week as co-founder George Jackson died at age 42, two weeks after suffering a stroke. News of Jackson's death came just as the company he co-founded announced that it had raised $16 million in venture capital.

Jackson, producer of the hip-hop action adventure film New Jack City and former president and chief executive of Motown Records, co-founded Urban Box Office with partners Frank Cooper and Adam Kidron a year ago. A tribute to Jackson has been erected at his Website, GeorgeJackson.com.

The company plans to build a network of entertainment Websites targeting what the company calls the "urban mindset" psychographic, which means not only black and Hispanic consumers but also anyone interested in urban music, arts, sports, and fashion.

This morning the company announced that it has raised $16 million in second round private equity financing from Flatiron Partners, Chase Capital Partners, the New York City Investment Fund and an investor group led by Clarence Avant, the former chairman of Motown Records. Avant serves as chairman at Urban Box Office.

"Flatiron's support will help UBO stake a substantive claim to the 'Urban Mindset' market; a rich diverse urban audience built on shared lifestyle and interests, rather than the racial, demographic, or psychographic tags," said Kidron, in a statement.

Urban Box Office will compete with everything from local start-ups like Platform.Net and Hookt.com to major media companies like BET and Sony.

Flatiron managing partners Fred Wilson and Jerry Colonna will both join the board at UBO which plans to unveil two sites -- Soul Purpose (http://www.soulpurpose.com) and IndiePlanet (http://www.indieplanet.com) -- later this month.