Metaverse studio Melon has raised $5 million in a seed round.
The investment follows high-profile music partnerships on virtual music events attracting millions of online visitors. Melon has created Roblox launch events for artists including KSI, Tai Verdes, Ava Max and Zara Larsson, whose event won the studio a Clio award this year.
The game development team is also behind experiences for partners and clients including the NFL, Chipotle, Mattel, Clarks and PacSun.
The seed round includes Crush Ventures, the investment arm of Crush Music whose management clients include Miley Cyrus, Sia, Green Day, Lorde, Weezer, Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy. Other investors include Gaingels, Comcast Spectacor and a large SPV (special purpose vehicle) led by Matt Finick, who has also joined Melon’s board. Finick was formerly CFO at Roblox and at Marvel Entertainment.
The round also includes Paul Yook, health care investor; Deborah Dugan, CEO of Beyond Type 1 and former CEO of Product (Red) and The Recording Academy of Music; Spencer Baim, chief brand officer at Kinship, and former CCO of Vice Media; Jason Ve, head of BD/Brand Partnerships at 88rising; and Gene Salomon, partner at entertainment law firm Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.
“At Comcast Spectacor, we’re always looking for new ways to engage fans with great events and memorable experiences, and that’s what this investment is all about,” said Tucker Roberts, president of Spectacor Gaming, a gaming and entertainment company connected to Comcast NBCUniversal. “Melon is on the cutting edge of bringing experiences directly to where Gen Z lives – their phones – and we’re looking forward to the continued innovations that Josh and his incredible team will make at Melon.”
"Melon is at the forefront of the creative explosion happening in the metaverse,” added investor/board member Matt Finick. “They are perfectly positioned to build some of the most impactful experiences across music, film and TV, fashion, and sports over the next few years of critical growth on these developing platforms."
Melon is at the forefront of the creative explosion happening in the metaverse
“We’re extremely fortunate to have such a strong collective of early strategic investors in Melon,” said Josh Neuman, co-founder/co-CEO of Melon. “The metaverse and platforms within it are ripe for disruption and we’re looking forward to evolving our creativity and storytelling in collaboration with our partners, as well as via our original IP. With this group, we’re going to be able to strategise and navigate the evolving landscape at the highest level.”
Before becoming Melon's co-CEO in 2021, Neuman was a co-founder and key executive of music, media, branding and talent companies, including 88rising, Recreation Worldwide (acquired by Vice Media), Control Management (former management of DJ Tiësto) and Crush Music. He created a multifaceted partnership between Red Bull and Skrillex, landed Kanye West for Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Note II, and worked closely with Bono’s Product (Red).
Neuman works alongside company founder/co-CEO Devon Thome. He made a name for himself in Minecraft before mastering the art of creating games in Roblox, where most of Melon’s work is currently focused.
They lead a team at Melon that has attracted executive talent from major game studios (EA, Pokémon GO) and lifestyle brands (Urban Outfitters, the Marketing Arm agency).
Heather Healy, SVP of partnerships and operations, helped launch the careers of Bruno Mars and Foster The People.
Becky Wilson, VP of entertainment partnerships, previously worked at Urban Outfitters where she led key music initiatives, including in-store events, collaborations, and partnerships with artists such as Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, SZA, Khalid and Lany.
“Crush Ventures looks to invest in teams that are building the future of how creators and fans will interact,” said Andrew Kahn, head of Crush Ventures. “Josh, Devon, and the Melon team have proven to be uniquely capable of building one-of-a-kind games and experiences. We're thrilled to invest in and partner with Melon as we explore opportunities together for Crush's talent in the metaverse.”