AHAlife.com has a new investor in William Morris Endeavor. In addition, Ari Emanuel, co-chief executive officer of WME, has been named to AHAlife’s board of advisers.
This story first appeared in the August 6, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Emanuel was founding partner of the Endeavor Agency and was instrumental in shaping its June 2009 merger with the William Morris Agency.
AHAlife launched in 2010 as a digital destination for product discoveries and content. Shauna Mei, founder and ceo of AHAlife, said she was pleased to bring Emanuel on as an adviser, adding, “Ari is one of the most creative, forward-thinking individuals in the entertainment and media space; he is always on the pulse of industry trends.” Mei noted that she met Emanuel through one of her board members. “He’s always been fascinated with content and commerce. Commerce is really a new and important channel for media companies to monetize,” said Mei. AHAlife’s lineup of curators runs the gamut from Kelly Rutherford, Deepak Chopra and Rachel Roy to Amy Sacco, Donna Karan, Bobbi Brown and Daniel Boulud.
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Mei noted that WME represents many different personalities and AHAlife works with a variety of curators. “There are a lot of synergies there,” said Mei, who would be interested in tapping into some of that talent for her Web site. “Ari will help us expand our curatorial voices through some of his clients,” said Mei. She declined to disclose how big an investment WME was making.
AHAlife’s aim is to connect consumers with undiscovered brands through digital experiences that integrate media and commerce via a storytelling platform. “We believe in educating consumers to know what they buy and why they buy it, in an effort to shift their mind-set from being deal-centric to valuing creativity, innovation and quality,” said Mei. “Curators and tastemakers, many of whom are represented by Ari and his firm, have always been an integral part of AHAlife’s storytelling.”
To date, AHAlife.com has raised more than $20 million in funding from Rakuten, DCM, FirstMark Capital and angel investors, including former French Minister of Commerce, Renaud Dutreil; philanthropist and filmmaker Abigail Disney, and Pulitzer Prize winner Sheryl WuDunn. Other advisory board members include Chopra and Fern Mallis.
AHAlife recently acquired the photo-sharing service Kaptur. Kaptur’s seven staffers are now based in AHAlife’s offices on Bond Street in Manhattan, boosting the employee count there to 45. AHAlife now has a total of 1.5 million registered users due to the Kaptur deal. The aim is to have 2 million by the end of the year, by driving traffic through images, she said. AHAlife, a full-price site, currently sells 1,800 labels and expects to increase that figure to 2,000 before January.