The Oscar-winning Black-owned studio Lion Forge Animation, which places on emphasis on underserved audiences and racially diverse productions, is looking to raise as much as $50 million to grow its operations.
Here’s what we know right now:
- Lion Forge Animation was founded in 2019 by David Steward II, son of U.S. tech billionaire David Steward. Shortly after launch, the studio gained attention for backing the Oscar-winning short Hair Love. Other Lion Forge productions include Noggin’s Children’s & Family Emmy-nominated Rhymes Through Times and HBO Max’s upcoming Iyanu: Child of Wonder, produced with Superprod, Youneek Studios, and Impact X Capital.
- Citing a person familiar with the studio’s plans, Bloomberg first reported that Lion Forge is aiming to raise as much as $50 million from investment companies run by wealthy families and institutional firms. A Steward family representative declined to comment for the initial report.
- With the funds, Lion Forge plans to expand staff, grow its media library, and increase the number of acquisitions it makes going forward. According to Bloomberg’s source, Participant Capital, an advisory firm for family offices and institutional investors, is assisting with fundraising.
- Thanks to a controlling stake in cloud-computing company World Wide Technology, the Steward family is one of America’s wealthiest Black families, worth around $6 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The senior Steward, 71, is well known for his efforts to address racial inequalities in numerous areas of American society. His firm has backed the diversification of predominantly white sports leagues such as Nascar and the NHL, and the Steward family’s foundation has helped fund numerous initiatives meant to aid its hometown community of St. Louis, Missouri.
Pictured at top: Hair Love, Iyanu: Child of Wonder