Behind the Money: The VC Firms You Should Know
One of my favorite scenes from the film “Casino Royale” begins when the supremely confident Vesper Lynd (Eva Greene) drops into the train seat opposite James Bond, introducing herself in no uncertain terms: “I’m the money.”
Because it’s a James Bond movie, there is more to it than that, but what I love about the moment is how Greene captures the power that comes with holding the checkbook. Ideas are important, talent essential — but when you walk into a room, and you’re the money, it means something.
This week, VideoInk is looking at the Vesper Lynds of the web video world — specifically venture capital firms and individuals supporting innovation within the space. Like all companies that have evolved in the digital age, VCs can be as different as snowflakes, with different interests, emphases, and strategies. But here’s a breakdown of some prominent companies funding development in the web video space.
Based: New York/Los Angeles
Key Players: Managing director Alan Patricof, founding partner Dana Settle, co-founder Ian Sigalow
Notable Investments: Maker Studios, Balcony TV, The Huffington Post, AwesomenessTV
Strategy: Greycroft founder and veteran VC Patricof, whose origin story includes 30 years building up the massive Apax Partners, is to take a smaller-scale approach to funding startups. As Patricof put it in an interview with All Things D:
“It’s always been our philosophy not to overfund the companies we invest in,” Patricof said in an interview. “It’s sometimes been hard in an environment where there is a lot of money available to entrepreneurs, but we are looking for startups that understand that it’s important to maintain the right balance of funding.”
Key Players: Managing eneral partners Bret Maxwell and Mark Koulogeorge, COO Karen Buckner.
Notable Investments: Generate, Movieclips, Machinima, Poptent. Also invested in AwesomenessTV.
Strategy: In this video interview regarding event commerce company Eved, Maxwell lays out MK’s reasons for investing in the company:
Based: New York City
Key Players: Managing directors Rick Heitzmann, Amish Jani, Lawrence Lenihan, Gerald A. Poch, Matt Turck
Notable Investments: Nerve, Pinterest, Tubular Labs, Aereo.
Strategy: The FirstMark portfolio, when it comes to media properties, shows a diversity of approaches, but video will likely be an ongoing emphasis. In an interview with Bloomberg Business, Heitzmann said:
If you look at video, it’s really an area we’re going to see tremendous growth in over the next several years… People love video — they love to consume it even in bite-size chunks… You’re able to specialize it and personalize those areas.
Founded: 2010 (Bedrocket Media Ventures was founded in 2012)
Based: New York City
Key Players: Founder/CEO Brian Bedol, founding partner Ken Lerer
Notable Investments: VHX, What’s Trending, the YouTube channels Official Comedy, Network A, Look TV, and KickTV.
Strategy: Unlike other companies mentioned here, Bedrocket’s focus is on video (to the point where one of its projects was the independent film from comedian Mike Birbiglia, “Sleepwalk With Me”). As Lerer, who also co-founded the Huffington Post, told All Things D:
“I think this is the next sweet spot,” Lerer says. “The distribution is all built out. It just needs to be filled with content. It’s absolutely identical to cable in the 80s.”
Other companies that deserve mention here? Let us know in the comments!Tags: Bedrocket, Behind the Money, Brett Maxwell, Brian Bedol, Dana Settle, FirstMark Capital, funding, George Ruiz, Greycroft, Ken Lerer, MK Capital, online video, Rick Heitzmann, Venture Capital