Unique: kaylani esparza, previously director of development at Lorne Michaels’ Broadway video, where he produced series such as HBO Max. the other two, going into the audio.
esparza got involved Some friends, the podcast company launched by former A+E Networks exec Andrew Kuo and former New York Times executive Karim Rahma.
She becomes Head of Development at the company, overseeing a slate of original fiction and non-fiction podcasts.
Separately, the business has received additional funding from New Media Ventures.
During her time in Broadway video, Esparza worked in shows such as Detroiters, Documentary Now!, Shrill, Portlandia, And los espukis And before that he worked with Steve Lafferty, Managing Partner at CAA.
SomeFriends launched earlier this year to enhance stories by and about people of color in the audio arena. Its upcoming slate includes projects from the creators behind the popular television show, including Abdullah Saeed, a Pakistani-American writer who starred on and wrote HBO’s hit comedy high maintenanceMamoudou N’Diye, Mauritanian-American Muslim author and comedian who wrote for Netflix space force, and Korean-American writer Sarah Cho, who is currently working on the Hulu drama Plainville girl.
SomeFriends already has partnerships with First Look Media’s streaming service Topic, QCODE Media, SALT, and doc Studio XTR.
Additional investments have been earmarked for new employees, further investment in building out its platform and its content slate.
New Media Ventures, which supports entrepreneurs with innovative approaches to progressive, inclusive social change, Hyphen Capital, joins investors including media veteran Sean Cohn; James Cole, Jr., Board Member of AIG and CEO of Jasco Group; and Jennifer Fitzgerald, Co-Founder and CEO of PolicyGenius.
“My goal has always been to create premium content for audiences everywhere, while also finding creative talent from as many underrepresented communities as possible along the way,” Esparza said. “Andrew and Karim share the same passion and I’m excited to have the opportunity to help build something great from the ground up.”
Andrew Koo, CEO and Co-Founder of Some Friends, said, “Kaylani’s impeccable taste and relationships within the industry are impressive and we feel very fortunate to find a like-minded executive who wants to tell similar stories.” “This new funding advances our shared mission to build a more inclusive society that celebrates our differences.”
“At New Media Ventures, our investments are a mechanism for social change and we are excited to be part of the SameFriends journey,” said Jessica Salinas, Vice President of Investments at New Media Ventures. “As Andrew and Karim continue to build out their library of original stories, we are confident that the amplification of voices within the community in which they are growing will transform the entertainment industry.”