Heyou Media, the Seattle startup founded by “Top Gun” star Tom Skerritt, is raising more cash and adding an entertainment veteran to its team.
The company today announced that Rudy Gadre, a partner at Founder’s Co-op and former executive at Facebook and Amazon, is now an investor in Heyou. He’ll also join its advisory board, which includes Pearl Jam Manager Kelly Curtis, well-known Seattle entrepreneur Mary Jesse, and Ed Fries, former head of Microsoft Games.
“Very few storytelling digital media companies offer the high-powered convergence of Heyou Media’s creative and production experience, industry relationships, business sense and technological savvy,” Gadre said in a statement. “The company’s unprecedented approach to the industry is bringing exceptional, smart content in an innovative business model that will help transform the way we view entertainment.”
Founded last year by Skerritt, Heyou bills itself as a new media company that aggregates entertainment content, like film, web series, music, virtual reality, and special interest videos. By focusing on raising money and producing films at a lower cost than competitors in Hollywood, the company believes it can support more independent work and leverage Seattle’s creative community.
In a press release, the company noted that “Skerritt takes aim at Hollywood.”
“The issue is that Hollywood cannot make the price point necessary for new media and we feel here, in one of the most literate cities in the country … with all of the storytellers here, that we have a very good opportunity,” Skerritt told GeekWire in August.
Skerritt has appeared in dozens of films and series, including “Alien” and “Steel Magnolias.” A self-described “storyteller,” he studied English at Wayne State University and UCLA. He has lived in the Northwest since the 1980s, splitting his time between his Seattle home and the San Juan Islands.
Heyou also announced today that Warren Etheredge, an entertainment industry veteran and screenwriting professor at the University of Washington, has joined the company as its vice president of curation and acquisitions.
Heyou did not disclose total funding to date or employee count. It announced its first round of fundraising in August, when it also launched its first video series on Amazon, Stroller Gangs, which follows a group of “Seattle quad-shot latte moms.”
Heyou plans to produce a “Game of Thrones-style saga” based off a novel called Widow Walk; additional productions include “East of the Mountain,” “What We Came to Be,” “The Lost World,” and “The Reimagined Immigrant.”