Bertelsmann’s BDMI invests $ 6,5 M in YouTube channel Stylehaul

BDMI, the venturing arm of Bertelsmann, invested $ 6,5 million in a Series B for the  YouTube fashion channel ‘Stylehaul’ together with Rezven Partners and business angels.

According to Stylehaul CEO Stephanie Horbaczewski, Stylehaul now reaches 50 million unique visitors per month. The main property of Stylehaul is its YouTube channel of the same name that has 250 000 subscribers. Horbaczewski told AllthingsD that she would invest the money in a destination site.

Slowly but surely, YouTube is becoming a place where you can build a real business. Google (which owns YouTube) invested in Machinima. Time Warner led a $ 36 million investment round in Maker Studio. I’m not aware of any European networks investing in YouTube channels, apart from this Bertelsmann investment – a recent 7 figure investment in Mediakraft Networks came from a VC, not a media player.

Incidentally, YouTube channels fit the definition of a disruptive technology quite nicely. YouTube content is generally regarded as lower quality than traditional networks – it’s often a mix of low cost professional and amateur content. The margins are also (a lot) lower. This is why traditional networks can’t or won’t invest in it.

But of course, disruptive companies have this tendency to move up in the food chain to raid the fatter margins of the traditional players. Don’t be surprised if traditional television players start wondering why the hell they didn’t see YouTube coming, two years from now.

Oh, and here’s how to create a “citrus mist” for your face (courtesy of Stylehaul):

[Gründerszene, AllthingsD][Photo: Stylehaul]

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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