Investors from music, gaming, media, sports, and biotech unite to fund the metaverse powerhouse studio behind experiences for the NFL, Chipotle, and top music artists on Roblox
MELON is announcing a $5M seed round. The game development team is behind numerous major music events on Roblox, as well as experiences for partners and clients including the NFL, Chipotle, Mattel, Clarks, and PacSun.
The seed round includes Crush Ventures, the investment arm of Crush Music whose management clients include Miley Cyrus, Sia, Green Day, Lorde, Weezer, Panic! at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy, as well as Gaingels, Comcast Spectacor, and a large SPV led by Matt Finick who has also joined MELON’s board. Finick was formerly CFO at Roblox and at Marvel Entertainment.
The round also includes notable strategic angels such as Paul Yook, health tech investor; Deborah Dugan, CEO of Beyond Type 1 and, former CEO of Product (RED) and The Recording Academy of Music; Spencer Baim, Chief Brand Officer at Kinship, former CCO of VICE Media; Jason Ve Head of BD/Brand Partnerships at 88rising; and Gene Salomon, partner at leading entertainment law firm Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.
“At Comcast Spectacor, we’re always looking for new ways to engage fans with great events and memorable experiences, and that’s what this investment is all about,” says Tucker Roberts, President of Spectacor Gaming, a gaming and entertainment company connected to Comcast NBCUniversal. “MELON is on the cutting edge of bringing experiences directly to where Gen Z lives–their phones–and we’re looking forward to the continued innovations that Josh and his incredible team will make at MELON.”
“This round reflects the value investors see in the metaverse, where storytelling and fan engagement is already thriving,” explains Josh Neuman, President of MELON. “As platforms like Roblox continue to grow and evolve, these experiences will continue to become more disruptive and culturally relevant.”
Neuman’s extensive experience at the intersection of media, brands, pop culture, and technology reflects the expertise that has allowed MELON to set the standard for activations and events in Roblox. Before becoming MELON’s co-CEO in 2021, he was a co-founder and key executive of several multi-million dollar music media, branding, and talent companies, including 88rising, Recreation Worldwide (acquired by VICE Media), Control Management (former management of superstar DJ, Tiësto), and Crush Music. Neuman was a key driver in Joji’s development at 88rising, which has recently exploded into a chart-topping success worldwide. He architected a multifaceted partnership between Red Bull and Skrillex, landed Kanye West for Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Note II, and worked closely with Bono’s Product (RED).
He leads a team at MELON that has attracted talent from major game studios (EA, Pokémon GO) and lifestyle brands (Urban Outfitters, Marketing Arm, Honda’s former agency of record), building on the high-caliber gaming and development experience of company co-founder/co-CEO Devon Thome, who’s been creating jaw-dropping experiences and innovation in open-world and metaverse environments such as Minecraft and Roblox for years.
Award-winning executive producer and marketing mastermind Heather Healy is MELON’s SVP of Partnerships and Operations, with nearly two decades of experience running high-profile campaigns. Healy helped launch the careers of Bruno Mars and Foster the People and developed award-winning marketing campaigns and strategic partnerships for Fortune 100 brands and talent including Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, OneRepublic, Incubus, and notably Maroon 5 and Honda, for which she won a silver EX Award for Best Activation of an Entertainment Sponsorship.
MELON’s VP of Entertainment Partnerships Becky Wilson previously worked at Urban Outfitters where she led key music initiatives, including in-store events, collaborations, and partnerships with notable artists such as Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, SZA, Khalid and LANY, among countless others.
MELON’s multifaceted team has honed a keen sense for what games, virtual fashion and apparel, and experiences work in the metaverse, and brands have taken note. In addition to big-name sports, lifestyle, and fashion partners, MELON has perfected the art of virtual music events, working with major labels and attracting millions of visitors to events for Tai Verdes, Ava Max, KSI and Zara Larsson, among others. Larsson’s event won the studio a Clio this year.
“MELON is at the forefront of the creative explosion happening in the metaverse,” notes investor/board member Matt Finick. “They are perfectly positioned to build some of the most impactful experiences across music, film/tv, fashion, and sports over the next few years of critical growth on these developing platforms.”
“Crush Ventures looks to invest in teams that are building the future of how creators and fans will interact. Josh, Devon, and the MELON team have proven to be uniquely capable of building one-of-a-kind games and experiences. We’re thrilled to invest in and partner with MELON as we explore opportunities together for Crush’s talent in the metaverse,” notes Andrew Kahn, Head of Crush Ventures.
Founded in 2017, MELON is a powerhouse development studio for the metaverse. They are creating original game properties and building some of the most innovative experiences across sports, music, film/TV, fashion and brands on the Roblox platform and beyond. MELON’s partnerships with major music labels and consumer product IP have gathered and engaged hundreds of millions of visits around the world.