PARIS — Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault is showing a growing interest in media.
The luxury company has announced a partnership with The Explorers, a global media platform focusing on environmental issues through an app and web site.
Launched on Nov. 7 by French television presenter Olivier Chiabodo and producer Jean-Pierre Morel, The Explorers broadcasts short films relaying the state of the planet worldwide, offered for free in 17 languages on mobile devices and desktop computers.
It also has a premium subscription service offering over a dozen documentaries through streaming platforms in 170 countries. New content will be added starting next year.
Kering said it “aims to play its part in raising awareness worldwide about the need to safeguard biodiversity.”
Meanwhile, Artemis, the Pinault family’s investment arm, bought a stake in Brut, a French video-based information channel, through its risk-capital platform Red River West.
Created in 2017 and based in Los Angeles, Red River West is an investment platform focused on French tech companies developing businesses in the U.S. The platform plans to build a portfolio of 10 companies, with investment amounts ranging from 5 to 50 million euros for each.
“France has a major issue: There are a whole lot of hidden gems and a real ecosystem of tech companies, but the transition to the U.S. market can be difficult as it’s a completely different culture,” Alfred Véricel, cofounder of Red River West, told WWD. “We are here to fund these companies, but also to accompany them via a hands-on, cross-border approach.”
Brut broadcasts punchy videos on hot political and environmental topics through social media. Launched just three years ago, it has quickly risen to take a prominent spot in French media. Its reach has extended to 57 countries and counts around 30 million active users a day. The company last month raised 40 million euros through funding from Red River West and venture investment firm Blisce.
“This media paves the way for new ways of expression and can push the new generation to get inspired and take part in durable action,’’ said Pinault in a statement, describing the company’s strategy.
Brut launched in the U.S. 18 months ago and is looking to increase its New York team, which currently employs 40 people.
“It’s the quality of the content that makes a real difference today,” continued Véricel, adding that he has had his eye on Brut since its founding and chose to step in for its series B round of funding. “Brut deals with current events by choosing to focus on values that are meaningful to the Millennial audience. Videos about the Gilets Jaunes movement performed very well with the American audience despite being a French subject. Common values are stronger than borders.”