Dude Perfect's latest trick: squander up to $300 million in venture capital


It started with a YouTube video of several young guys making absurdly difficult trick shots on a basketball hoop in the backyard. Some 15 years later, these friends — now with more than 60 million subscribers on the platform and known as Dude Perfect — are enjoying an investment of $100 million to $300 million from one of the country's leading venture capital firms.

Highland Capital announced Tuesday that it is investing “nine figures” in Dude Perfect, an online content creator founded 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 is a “media giant at the intersection of sports and comedy” whose videos attract billions of viewers, Jason Illian, CEO of Highland Capital, said in a post. The company did not disclose further financial details about the investment, but Illian said the capital will be used in part to expand Dude Perfect's management team.

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 its breadth and reach, as well as its 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 did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has steadily grown its YouTube audience with a mix of irreverent and increasingly elaborate videos. Recent posts include throwing around a rocket-powered soccer ball, sinking the world's longest putt and joking about office life.

Dude Perfect also holds more than 20 Guinness World Records, including the longest basketball throw, the longest barefoot run over Legos and the most ping pong balls glued to a person's head with shaving cream. As the company's popularity grew, external participants also became involved in the content, including actor Zac Efron, professional basketball player Luka Dončić and football stars from England's top league.

N'DIGO Studios trains students in content creation

The “creator economy,” or people with individual brands who thrive on YouTube, TikTok and other online platforms, is currently valued at $250 billion and is expected to reach $480 billion by 2027, according to a 2023 Goldman Sachs study -dollars reach. Investment bank analysts estimate there are 50 million online content creators worldwide, although only about 4% of them do it professionally and earn more than $100,000 a year.

According to 2022 data from Oxford Economics, content posted and monetized on YouTube has pumped $35 billion into the U.S. economy and created nearly 400,000 full-time jobs.