From marketplaces to VR, media giants seek relevance through startup investing. Of the traditional media companies that have committed to corporate venturing, there are two distinct strategies: those whose investing seems to be about replacing the historic classifieds section of newspapers and diversifying into a range of consumer-facing marketplaces, and those whose investing is concentrated on capturing an early glimpse (and early equity stake) in startups reshaping media.
Former media chief Edgar Bronfman Jr. is starting a venture firm called Waverley Capital with longtime investor Daniel Leff. The two are said to be looking to raise up to $100 million. The idea: to target media investments.
As venture capitalists exercise more caution and place fewer bets, they’re leaving media startups behind. Venture funding to media-tech companies slid for the third consecutive quarter to $91.7 million, the lowest amount since mid-2013, according to data from industry researcher CB Insights. Investment activity followed a similar trend, declining to the fewest number of deals since the second quarter of 2012. But even as funding rounds hit that four-year low, some VCs remain bullish.
Venture capital funding for online media climbed 145% year-over-year to $813 million. Vice Media itself had a pair of $250 million investments, but alas for poor Gigaom, which had more than $22 million in VC funding, this only led down the path to ruin.