VI Power-Sixer: Dana Settle / The Power of Belief

/ Apr 18, 2014

DanaSettle2

As one of the founding partners of Greycroft Partners, Dana Settle knows a thing or two about making a good bet.

Along with fellow founders Alan Patricof and Ian Sigalow, Settle and the team behind Greycroft have already made a significant impact in the world of online video. Just look at who the firm has invested in — from content giants such as Maker Studios and AwesomenessTV, to technology companies like Fanhattan, Wochit, and Vidible — all of which are revolutionizing the way businesses and consumers interact with video content.

GreycroftLogoIt’s been Settle’s acute awareness of the emerging medium that has put her investments in the position to succeed, and succeed remarkably — most famously with the acquisitions of AwesomenessTV and Maker Studios by traditional-media heavyweights DreamWorks Animation and Disney, respectively. It was under her watch and guidance that these companies found their industry-shaking successes,

Which is why, when I sit down to talk with Dana Settle about her impact on the world of digital video, I can’t help but address the topic of belief. For the layperson, it must seem like an incredible leap to take when you’re standing on the ground floor of a company/medium that isn’t yet established, committing years and capital to such an endeavor. Yet, this is the cornerstone of Settle’s work, and when I ask her what she needs to see in a company to invest, her answer exposes an individual whose success has been achieved as much with her heart as with her intellect.

“I tend to be a big believer in investing in great people and great entrepreneurs,” Settle says. “Companies morph and change their strategies, and great entrepreneurs are able to identify quickly when changes are occurring on the market. Really, if you back great entrepreneurs and don’t fold when things don’t necessarily go perfectly, that’s key. Of course, you have to believe there are great market possibilities and the inventor or entrepreneur has some sort of differentiation over the long term, but it’s still about backing great people.”


Dana Settle 3

Settle, whose involvement with the digital video world dates back to her work on business development with Truveo (later sold to AOL), proves that a commitment to the individual can be as significant as the belief in his or her idea.

In fact, according to her Greycroft colleague, Mark Terbeek, it’s Settle’s commitment to the personal that places her in such high
esteem among her colleagues and contemporaries.

“At the end of the day, Dana is incredibly well-networked,” says Teerbek. “Executives, heads of large studios, every kind of entrepreneur in town, Dana is always on the shortlist of people they call to consult. Even if it’s not necessarily an opportunity for Greycroft to invest, they want her advice. They know she has broad contacts and they know she’ll be straight with them, and I think that’s a consistent characteristic of Dana’s. She’s almost always the first person people reach out to, which in our business means the world. It’s a hallmark of Dana’s personality and Greycroft’s personality as a result.”

Of course, entrepreneurs don’t just seek Settle’s advice due to her knowledge of what they do, but also because she has an incredible foresight and belief in the consumers they serve. In this continued discussion of what one needs to see to believe in an investment, it’s Settle’s understanding of the relationship between content and consumer that is one of her greatest tools in steering a ship to success.

“It has to be great content, and it has to be different in the eye of the beholder,” she says. “But not only does it have to be great content that connects with an audience, but also how that content is distributed and how that content is discovered.”

Using Maker Studios as an example, Settle illustrates exactly how she’s focused on these issues as the entertainment landscape shifts.

“In terms of Maker, we looked at a lot of the first-generation video companies, of which there are still a few, and they all had to essentially create the content, pay for the distribution, and then drive the audiences to them. It seemed very difficult to make the economics work,” she says. “That’s when we saw the rise of YouTube as a mass platform. That’s when we decided the time was right to start to invest in video.”

“That was really the time we decided to invest in Maker,” she continues. “Anytime there’s a community of people or a company that’s early to a platform, like the founders of Maker and YouTube, they’re going to know how to do things on the platform. How to exploit little blips. If they keep up the momentum from the beginning, others won’t be able to catch them. I saw that in the early days of Maker, and that’s what got me excited…that opportunity to build technology out of the network and build the next-generation studio.”

Settle is notably enthusiastic when discussing this world that she has had a hand in creating, and I can’t really blame her. By combining a firm knowledge of business, drive, and, yes…belief…Dana Settle and her partners at Greycroft have helped contribute to the rise of a new frontier of media that is all the more accessible to consumers at home.

In closing, Dana tells me that, looking to the future, we can expect that gap to continue to grow smaller, and that the personal connections will be the most significant investments of them all.

“I think networks of any kind, whether traditional or digital, as they start to achieve scale can do really great things for the creators and the consumer. It’s helping consumers discover content in a world of ever-increasing options. It creates this great world where there’s something for everyone. As a network gets to scale, it can really connect the consumer to the right creator.”

It’s been a big week here at VideoInk, as we unveiled our inaugural Power-Sixer on Monday. If you enjoyed reading about Ms. Dana Settle, check out the other executives, true game-changers in the online video business, who we’ve already profiled.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Amazon Logo

Amazon Greenlights Three Comedy Pilots as Series

 
cartoon-network-app

How the Cartoon Network Combined the Best of VOD and Linear TV...

 
jukin-media-ethos

Jukin Media Goes Viral for Brands with Ethos Division Launch

 
Streamy Awards

Streamy Awards Trade In VH1 for YouTube, Again

 
Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
 
zefr-alignment-report

Matching Ads to Videos Not So Simple, According to Zefr’s...

 
shomi

Plug Pulled on Canadian SVOD Service Shomi

 
Twitter

What’s Trending on the Twitter Sale

 
Machinima Logo

Machinima Teams with SiriusXM for Daily Esports Radio Show

 
Hearst

AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...

 
dirty-30-hannah-hart-mamrie-hart-grace-helbig

VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...

 
facebook-thumbs-down

Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...

 
craig-piligian-pilgrim-media-group

Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...

 
youtube-heroes-for-change

Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

 
Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...

 
jared-feldman-and-sam-hui-ph-d-at-the-2014-canvs-launch

How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...

 
marlon-wayans

Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall

 
huffpost-ryot-aol

HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...

 
youtube-vote-irl

YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation

 
tyler-oakley-camp17

How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...

 
charlie-sheen-anger-management

Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’

 
filmbuff_videoink_300x250

Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...

 
toy-freaks-youtube

Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...

 
jeffrey-tambor-transparent-amazon

Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...

 
Twitter

Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff

 
youtube-sad-face-error

Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

 
Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down

 
raised-firsts-branded-tv

Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?

 
shes-gotta-have-it

Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...

 
swedish-dicks-peter-stormare-keanue-reeves-viaplay

What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?

 
seamlessly-she-monica-potter-aol-partner-studio-gmc-acadia

How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...

 
Netflix_new

Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries

 
vincent-cacace-vertebrae

Getting to the Spine of VR’s Monetization Challenges with...

 
meredith_brandfront_videoink_300x250

Meredith Hosted Its Own “Front” Stacked with 20 New Series

 
complex-networks-hearst-verizon

Verizon and Hearst Move RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV Under...

 
Twitter

Twitter Launches Live Streaming Apps for Amazon Fire, Apple TV...

 
YouTube Community

YouTube Fights Back Against Social Media Rivals with Community Feature

 
Casual Hulu

Vimeo Opening Television Store with Lionsgate Content, Launching...

 
A Perfect Day in LA Tastemade Jaunt VR Virtual Reality

From Donuts to Malibu, Tastemade and Jaunt Get Immersive in...

 
Defy Media

Defy Media Close $70 Million Series B Funding Round

 
YouTube Space LA Halloween Set 2016

YouTube Spaces Team with Jason Blum (‘The Purge’)...