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Black PR Wire) SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dr. Boyce Watkins, the highly acclaimed author and scholar focused on economic empowerment and education in the African American community, is re-launching his digital empire of more than 50 properties to the Maven Network (MVEN), the Seattle-based startup launching in beta this month.

Watkins is considered one of the founding fathers in the field of financial activism – with the objective of creating social change through the use of conscientious capitalism – and has written numerous books and articles on finance, education and black social justice. He is a regular guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, BET, NPR and other national networks.

Between social media and subscribers to his numerous websites, Watkins built a regular following of more than four million people.

“I am very excited about this partnership, and have tremendous respect for James Heckman and his team for creating this brilliant, state-of-the-art business platform for independent media brands,” Watkins said. “From the first conversation, he impressed me as a person who wants to use his resources to better all of humanity through cutting-edge technology. I’ve chosen to be a first-mover and leader in this extraordinary project, as we continue our goal of developing black economic and political strength throughout the world.”

Heckman, Maven CEO, calls Watkins an “intellectual giant and brilliant communicator who will amplify his message through our advanced publishing technology, new community platform and seamless integration with social media.”

“Boyce is authentic, smart and more than anything, courageous,” he added. “We will continue to reserve our technology and resources for hand-picked, inspiring, independent content and community leaders. Boyce is all that and more, tackling real issues with innovative ideas and thoughtful social commentary – we’re honored to be his partner.”

Maven provides a select group of content leaders an end-to-end digital media business platform within a cooperative – sharing technical resources, distribution and monetization. Dozens of award-winning journalists, best-selling authors, top analysts, important global causes, and foundations have already joined the coalition.

Watkins plans to organize his numerous websites into four main channels on Maven: Black Wealth, Black Men United, Black Women United, and Black America.

Among his signature initiatives are The Black Wealth Bootcamp, The Black Business School, and The Black Millionaires Of Tomorrow program which introduces young people to finance and entrepreneurship. He also has produced two critically acclaimed documentaries: “Resurrecting Black Wall Street” and “The Secrets Of Black Financial Intelligence.”

Maven is an expert-driven, group media network, whose state-of-the-art platform serves, by invitation-only, professional, independent channel partners. By providing broader distribution, greater community engagement, and efficient advertising and membership programs. Maven enables partners to focus on the key ingredients to their business: creating, informing, sharing, discovering, leading and interacting with the communities and constituencies they serve.

Based in Seattle, Maven is publicly traded under the ticker symbol MVEN. For more information, visit themaven.net. Key members of the team include:

Founder and CEO James Heckman has extensive experience in digital media, advertising, video and online communities for major public companies and several times as founder. He served as Head of Global Media Strategy for Yahoo!, leading all significant transactions and revenue strategy under Ross Levinsohn’s tenure. As Chief Strategy Officer at Fox Digital, he architected the first programmatic social advertising platform, as part of the market-changing, $900 million ad alliance between Google and Myspace and was instrumental in Hulu’s formation. Prior to Yahoo!, Mr. Heckman was founder/CEO of 5to1.com (sold to Yahoo!), CSO of Zazzle.com, Founder/CEO of Scout.com (sold to Fox), Founder/CEO of Rivals.com and Rivals.net (sold to Yahoo!, post tenure and 365-Sports, respectively) and held the position of President and Publisher of NFL Exclusive, an official NFL publication network. Heckman holds a BA in Communications from the University of Washington.

Co-founder and COO William Sornsin ran MSN’s Core Technology team before joining Rivals as co-founder and CTO in 1999, co-founded Scout.com as CTO/COO; was VP Engineering & Operations at Fox Interactive Media after Scout acquisition. Earlier, Sornsin held a variety of product and program management roles at Microsoft. He holds a BS Electrical/Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and an MBA from UCLA.

Co-founder and CTO Benjamin Joldersma’s career spans nearly two decades of large-scale platform development, including CTO and chief architect of Scout.com. Ben held the role of Senior Software Engineer, Geo/Imagery at Google, was a Principal Software Engineer at Yahoo!, Chief Architect at 5to1 and held senior engineering roles at aQuantive, Rivals.com and Microsoft. Ben studied Computer Science at University of Puget Sound.

Director Ross Levinsohn is a leading industry figure who has long focused on the convergence of technology and media. He served as CEO at Yahoo in 2012 and prior to that role was Executive Vice President, Americas and Head of Global Media from 2010 to 2012. Levinsohn served as President of Fox Interactive where he helped create one of the largest digital businesses amongst the traditional media companies, and was instrumental in the formation of what is now Hulu. He serves on several public and private media and technology boards, including Tribune Media, mobile advertising marketplace YieldMo, Vubiquity, Zefr, and the National Association of Television Program Executives. He was Executive Chairman and Director of Scout Media, Inc. from 2014-2016, previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Guggenheim Digital Media and co-founded 5to1 Holding Corp, serving as its Executive Chairman. He co-founded Fuse Capital in 2005 and served as its Managing Director and Managing Partner. He served as General Manager at AltaVista Network and Vice President of Programming and Executive Producer at CBS Sportsline. Mr. Levinsohn received a BA in Broadcast Communications from American University, and is a trustee there.

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