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Iconix Brand Group Invests $25M in Complex Media

Cofounded by Marc Ecko, who also is a partner in Iconix, the multimedia platform consists of a network of digital publications geared toward Millennial men.

ICONIX’S NEW COMPLEX: Iconix Brand Group Inc. has invested $25 million in Complex Media, a multimedia platform consisting of a network of digital publications geared toward Millennial men. Complex was cofounded by Marc Ecko, who also is a partner in Iconix, which owns the apparel brands Ecko Unltd. and Marc Ecko Cut & Sew, as well as Rocawear and Billionaire Boys Club.

Complex Media said it will use the money to fund a planned acceleration of its “aggressive growth strategy,” including the launch of an e-commerce platform as well as more content, particularly video, and better infrastructure and technology. In connection with the company’s investment, Neil Cole, chairman and chief executive officer of Iconix, will join the Complex board.

Rich Antoniello, ceo of Complex Media, said: “We’re particularly focused on launching an e-commerce offering, and scaling our video production and distribution capabilities, with a goal of reaching one billion video views in 2014. We’re also planning to speed the expansion of our branded content, mobile and social media teams. In addition, the funding will enable us to be more aggressive in making strategic acquisitions.”

Cole added: “Given Iconix’s diverse portfolio of men’s brands, this platform is a powerful asset for us as we shift our marketing strategies to be more digitally focused and presents a unique opportunity to further engage with our core consumer. Marc Ecko, cofounder of Complex Media and a partner of Iconix Brand Group, is a true visionary and early adopter of the notion that brands need to think like publishers.”

Ecko lauded Cole, calling his joining Complex “a game changer.…Neil gets the space and knows the inefficiencies and challenges of consumer marketing. This is further proof that we are more 3-D than a conventional media company.”

The flagship site is complex.com, the online version of style and lifestyle publication Complex Magazine, which launched the company in 2002.

According to Google Analytics, the site in July posted 90 million unique visitors and 931 million page views. Over 30 percent of traffic was generated via social platforms.

More and more companies are targeting Millennial consumers in a variety of formats that feature lifestyle content. Thrillist is a digital media company that features content and members-only shopping club Jackthreads.com for young men, while ZelnickMedia two years ago acquired youth-focused entertainment firm and ad network platform Alloy, whose businesses include the development of TV series “Gossip Girl” and “The Vampire Diaries” as well as Web site aggregator Alloy Digital Network, targeting females between ages 12 and 24.