Before starting Cardinal Blue Consulting, I spent several years working in Strategy & Business Development for the well-known media company, 20th Century Fox. Emiliano Calemzuk, the president of Fox at the time, was also beginning his work as the CEO of Raze. A premium digital media company based in Beverly Hills, Raze provides “Latin-centered” content on multiple platforms.
In addition to Emiliano, Raze was founded by media entrepreneur, Sofia Vergara of Modern Family, and her longtime business partner Luis Balaguer.
“We realized the best thing to do would create a company for both traditional and digital media, and over time give the audience following all this talent one destination,” Emiliano told Variety Media a year after Raze was founded in 2016. “We want to turn that connection from just being a sporadic, social-media-driven one to a content-driven one.”
A mobile-first entertainment platform, the Hispanic startup produces programming for both of the Raze owned and operated platforms, as well as for third-party media broadcast & publishing outlets.
“The Hispanic experience in the U.S. is so broad — you can’t define it as one narrow genre,” Emiliano said. “As with anything in the digital space, we want to iterate and double down on things where we find our stride.”
Raze was founded a year before they approached me to consult for them. At this time, the startup was in desperate need of an experienced professional who could dedicate time toward solidifying Raze strategy and to support Emiliano as the CEO.
Having previously worked together in the programming industry, Emiliano was confident that my industry expertise and marketing knowledge would help them continue to raise funding and grow. I temporarily joined the Raze team in 2017 to develop three core pillars of the business including...
Venture capital-backed, Raze had closed a round of Series A funding from multiple investors before I began working with them. They had committed to the board that they would secure deals with top media outlets. Now, it was time to deliver.
Strategic marketing would play a great role in helping them accomplish these goals.
Raze was still in its early development stages when I began consulting for them in 2017. Their board of investors wanted to know how their money was being used. How was Raze planning to grow?
Raze needed to produce evidence of their plan and approach toward their business development and financing. However, at the time, their business plan and financial modeling were non-existent. For this reason, Emiliano asked me to spearhead the creation of a full business plan and financial model for Raze.
Since their recent founding, Raze had found success in its initial rounds of fundraising campaigns. As a new startup, they needed to maintain this fundraising success. They needed an experienced digital media professional to lead their fundraising planning and efforts.
In order for Raze to drive revenue growth, the young business needed to put a general marketing plan in place.
Before I collaborated with Raze as a strategy consultant, they were aiming their main efforts toward social media and partnering with influencers. Because these approaches were giving them results and because Raze’s target audience is millenial Latinos, I focused their long-term marketing plan in the same direction.
Additionally, as part of their new marketing strategy, I also turned their attention toward stories. The three central Raze stories—their brand story, their product story, and their personal story—would allow them to connect with their audience both young and old.
Business Plan & Financing
In order to continue seeing growth and development within the business, Raze required an intentional and strategic business plan and financial model. I needed to craft a full business plan that they could follow for years to come.
Emiliano and I collaborated throughout the strategic documentation process. We worked together to develop both the business plan and the financial model, which would provide the board with insight on how their money would be used to evolve the business and Raze brand.
As they grew, Raze needed to continue raising additional funding from investors. In an effort to secure capital and help them accomplish these goals, I supported Raze through a new fundraising round. Leveraging my knowledge of Raze’s business strategy and financial model that I had previously planned, I developed pitch materials to present to the board and potential investors.
As a result of their well-documented, story-based marketing plan, several series on Raze’s platfrom caught the eye of huge programming brands. Netflix, Telemundo, Univsion, and Amazon all acquired a TV series from Raze.
Thanks to the new Raze business plan and financing model, Raze was able to earn an impressive amount of capital during follow-on fundraising rounds.
"Gina was instrumental in getting our business model improved after our launch,” Emiliano said. “Her knowledge of the TV business was very helpful in helping us model and forecast properly."
Because Raze had demonstrated progress in building its business model and presented evidence of its potential to grow and generate revenue, Raze earned $5 million from VC.