Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka is making money moves this year with Hana Kuma, the media production company she co-founded with agent and SVP Stuart Duguid. Today, the company announced it launched a new fundraising round with investors Disruptive Acquisition Corp, Epic Games, Fenway Sports, Group, The Kinoshita Group and The SpringHill Company — which helped incubate the business less than a year ago. It raised $5 million in the spinoff.
“You know, there was never any grand plan of we’ll spend X amount of time under the SpringHill umbrella, and then we’ll go and do it ourselves,” Duguid told The Hollywood Reporter. “It just happened very organically and naturally, and it came to the point where we decided it was time to raise financing, build out the business and hire more people and have a more robust team and a more robust business plan.”
Launched last year, Hana Kuma carved out a unique niche to tell disruptive stories across scripted, unscripted, branded and digital content. According to The New York Times, it was Osaka’s push into Hollywood — with the help of LeBron James’ “fast-growing entertainment, marketing and products” business: The SpringHill Company.
Naomi Osaka is launching her own media company — Hana Kuma — in partnership with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s The SpringHill Company.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) June 21, 2022
The SpringHill Company CEO Maverick Carter expressed the move is a “seminal moment” in the company’s history. SpringHill was developed to provide a platform for creatives to accomplish and be more, with the recognition that athletes are creatives.
“We’re excited to continue being a great partner to Hana Kuma as they keep expanding and creating important content,” he said in a news release to Blavity.
Hana Kuma’s endeavors have included MINK!, a New York Times Op-Doc from Oscar-winning director Ben Proudfoot, branded content partnerships with Mastercard and a current production on a podcast series with Modern Health detailing the mental journeys of high-performing individuals.
The spinoff will also see Matt DeMartis, SpringHill’s VP of strategic partnerships, join Hana Kuma as General Manager of the company. He previously worked at NBC Sports and Disney/ABC. In addition, the new round will expand Hana Kuma’s programming, for example, into the animé and manga spheres.
“I think their stamp and their ethos and their talent will largely be reflected in the new business,” Duguid said of the SpringHill co-founders.
In 2021, SpringHill raised money at a $725 million valuation, according to THR.
“We want to focus on telling really interesting stories…and we’ll see where that takes us,” Duguid added.