Dude Perfect’s latest trick — sinking up to $300 million in venture money

It started with a YouTube video of several young dudes hitting absurdly difficult trick shots on a backyard basketball hoop. Some 15 years later, those pals — now with more than 60 million subscribers on the platform and known as Dude Perfect — can celebrate an investment ranging from $100 million to $300 million from one of the country’s premier private investment firms. 

Highmount Capital said Tuesday it is investing “9 figures” in Dude Perfect, a creator of online content formed in 2009 by five friends who met at Texas A&M. Over that time, the Frisco, Texas-based startup — led by twins Cory and Coby Cotton, Garrett Hilbert, Cody Jones and Tyler Toney — has grown into a social media and brand powerhouse with more than two dozen employees.

Dude Perfect ia “media juggernaut at the intersection of sports and comedy” whose videos draw billions of views, Highmount Capital CEO Jason Illian said in a post. The firm didn’t disclose more financial details about the investment, but Illian said the capital will be used in part to expand Dude Perfect’s management team. 

YouTube Brandcast Presented By Google - Pre-event And #YTMeetUp Dude Perfect founders Cory Cotton, Garrett Hilbert, Tyler Toney, Coby Cotton and Cody Jones at a YouTube event in New York City on April 29, 2015. Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic for YouTube

“The world’s top athletes, celebrities and sponsors want to work with Dude Perfect because of their breadth and reach as well as their commitment to family-friendly values and content,”Illian wrote. “The Dudes have built a truly special brand, and we believe they are just getting started.”

Dude Perfect, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, has steadily grown its YouTube audience with a mixture of irreverent and increasingly elaborate videos. Recent entries include tossing around a rocket-propelled football, sinking the world’s longest putt and poking fun at office life. 

Dude Perfect also holds more than 20 Guinness World Records, including longest basketball shot, longest barefoot walk across Legos and the most Ping Pong balls stuck on a person’s head using shaving cream. As the company’s popularity has grown, outside participants in the content have included actor Zac Efron, professional basketball player Luka Dončić and soccer stars from England’s top league. 

N’DIGO Studios trains students in content creation 04:42

The “creator economy,” or people with individual brands that flourish on YouTube, TikTok and other online platforms, is now valued at $250 billion and is projected to reach $480 billion by 2027, according to 2023 research from Goldman Sachs. Analysts with the investment bank estimate there are 50 million online content creators worldwide, although only about 4% of them do so professionally and earn more than a $100,000 year.

Content posted and monetized on YouTube pumped $35 billion into the U.S. economy and supported almost 400,000 full-time jobs, according to 2022 data from Oxford Economics. 

Editor’s note: Because of an editing error, the initial version of this story erroneously said that venture capital firm Highland Capital was investing in Dude Perfect. In fact, the investment is from Highmount Capital, a private investment firm.

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Khristopher J. Brooks 70820838-10107939517480338-3901705551913943040-n.jpg

Khristopher J. Brooks is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch. He previously worked as a reporter for the Omaha World-Herald, Newsday and the Florida Times-Union. His reporting primarily focuses on the U.S. housing market, the business of sports and bankruptcy.

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