'Lonelygirl15' creators launch production company, pull in venture funding

The newly minted firm, Eqal, aims to create online-video projects with an infusion of social networking. And it's already grabbing the attention of notable Valley investors.

Remember the Web series Lonelygirl15? Protagonist "Bree" might have gotten killed off , but the team that created her wants to go places.

On Thursday, Lonelygirl15 brains Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried--who also created a British spin-off called KateModern--announced the launch of their new "social entertainment" production company, Eqal. Previously, their company's name had been a bit more of a mouthful: LG15 Studios/Telegraph Ave. Productions.

Lonelygirl15, the face that launched $5 million in venture capital. LG15/Eqal

Along with its debut, Eqal has announced $5 million in Series A venture funding in a round led by Spark Capital, with contributions from notable investors, including Silicon Valley veteran Ron Conway and serial entrepreneur Marc Andreessen.

Pronounced "equal," Eqal aims to work with both independent content creators and big media companies to produce "shows where the community built around the property is as important as the characters within it."

Indeed, Lonelygirl15 gained a massive cult following on YouTube and MySpace.com, due in part to the fact that many viewers were convinced that 'Bree' was a real 16-year-old video blogger.

Bree was outed as actress Jessica Rose in September 2006, but the show continued; Beckett and Goodfried went on to debut KateModern on social network Bebo.

Encouraging heavy social-networking activity around a Web video series has been a popular, albeit not necessarily successful, experiment. The series Quarterlife built an entire community site , but it hasn't achieved the same kind of cult fame that Lonelygirl15 did.

A new Eqal online-video venture will be announced Monday, according to the company.

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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