Kun Gao Steps Down as Crunchyroll GM, Continues to Serve as Adviser
posted on by Karen Ressler
Gao will continue to serve as an adviser at Crunchyroll, and as a board member at Crunchyroll K.K., the company's Japanese branch. He will continue to work on several ongoing projects.
Crunchyroll did not comment on whether it foresees changes as a result of the transition. Gao commented that he thinks Crunchyroll has a "bright future," and that he has confidence in Waage and the rest of the team. Waage commented, "We have big plans to create more 360-degree experiences for fans via content, games, merchandise, events, and more."
Crunchyroll launched in 2007 as a streaming service offering anime titles without authorization, but in 2008 it secured US$4.05 million in its first-round funding from Venrock and began licensing titles for streaming. The Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in Crunchyroll in December 2013. The Chernin Group and AT&T formed the joint venture Otter Media in 2014, and Otter Media invested another US$22 million in Crunchyroll's parent company Ellation in November 2015. AT&T then announced in August that it has acquired all of Otter Media.
As of October, Crunchyroll has more than 2 million paid subscribers.
Source: Email correspondence, Joanne Waage's LinkedIn
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