Kobalt announced today that Bill Maris, founder and CEO of Google Ventures and one of the more prominent venture capitalists in tech, has joined the independent music company’s board of directors. As a first step, Maris’ new venture capital fund Section 32 added a $14 million cherry atop Kobalt’s previously announced Series D round of funding, bringing that total amount to $89 million.
“Bill is one of the most important investors and leaders in the tech community,” said Willard Ahdritz, Founder & CEO of Kobalt. “Having him join our board is not only a great moment for Kobalt but also for the music industry that needs more tech experience. He’s been with us since 2014 and is now doubling down to help us see through our mission of bringing the music industry into the digital age.”
Announced in May, the $75 million Series D round was led by Hearst Entertainment, Balderton Capital and MSD Capital. At the time the company said the added capital would be used to further scale the firm’s creative teams and scale its services to its artists, songwriters, publishers and label clients; invest in R&D for future tech products to support music creators; and to handle the surge in streaming.
Ahdritz noted in his statement that Kobalt has recently finished building the first music stack in the industry for publishing, neighboring rights, recordings and collections — “a true global multi-rights music infrastructure so artists and creators can get paid faster and in more places, across the globe,” he said.
“The royalty collection business has been stuck in the dark ages, and artists often have to wait for months or years to get paid for use of their work – if they get paid at all,” said Maris. “Kobalt is the only company to have created a full multi-rights content management system to fix this broken business model, and I couldn’t be happier to join the board and invest again in Willard and the team at Kobalt.”