LA is going from Hollywood scripts to startup decks

Steven Loeb · October 1, 2014 · Short URL:

Hear from Disney/Techstars, Plus Capital, UTA, and WME Ventures at Vator Splash LA

Vator Splash LA is now just one day away. If you haven't bought your tickets yet there is still time. Make sure to buy your tickets here! They go up on Thursday. We hope to see there.

We have been covering many trends going on the LA tech scene over the past month, including how new hubs are bringing the scene closer together, and how the ecosystem has been using celebrities to gain traction for its companies. One of the most interesting things happening right now, though, has to be the way the entertainment industry is starting to embrace the tech startup world through venture capital.

For a long time, Los Angeles was known for investing in a certain type of talent, Namely, those in the  film industry, like producers, writers and actors. In the last three years or so, studios and agencies have begun looking at startups instead, creating a bridge to Silicon Valley.

One firm that has been doing this for a long time now is Steamboat Ventures, the venture capital firm affiliate of The Walt Disney Company. They invest in early-stage technology companies.

Some of their investments include Kyte, GoPro, EdgecastPhotobucket and FreeWheel. In just the last year the firm made nine investments, putting in a total of $36.69 million.

Other more recent firms include CAA ventures, the venture arm of Creative Artists Agency, which has invested in companies like Whisper, BarkBox, Medium and Moonfrye. And Plus Capital, an early stage venture fund backed by top influencers from TV, film, music, and sports. It has made investments in companies like Workpop, DanceOn and Twenty Jeans.

There have also been new accelerators, funded by the entertainment industry, to help foster startup talent.

There is Disney Accelerator, which is powered by TechStars. It picks 10 companies, who go for a 15 week program, and who get $120,000 in investment capital

They also have access to stories, characters, resources and relationships from The Walt Disney Company, such as The Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, ABC, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Consumer Products, and Disney Interactive.

Warner Brothers and Turner have also teamed up pn their own accelerator called Media Camp, launched in 2012. It holds one session per year, run by Turner in San Francisco and Warner Bros. in Los Angeles. Each startup goes for a three month  program and receives $20,000 in funding with potential for commercial agreements.

Media Camp has also made investments in companies like Cinemacraft and Dealflicks. 

At Splash, you can come see our panel, featuring some big names, on how these new types of investments are shaping Hollywood. That includes Robyn Ward, who runs New Media Ventures at United Talent AgencyAdam Lillingthe founder and managing partner of Plus Capital; and Molly Matthieson of WME. The  panel moderator will be Cody Simms of TechStars Disney Accelerator.

Don't forget to REGISTER before prices jump at the door!

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FreeWheel offers the most formidable system for digital video ad management and monetization. Built from the ground up by a handful of former DoubleClick executives, FreeWheel's solution-set has already armed companies like Turner Broadcasting System, Warner Brothers, CBS, VEVO, Discovery Communications, and others with the tools and services necessary to make more money from their video content. For more information, please visit: Follow us on Twitter @FreeWheeldotTV.



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Kyte is a white-label, cloud-based publishing platform for live and on-demand video. The Kyte Platform reduces the cost and complexity of delivering social video experiences to websites, mobile and connected devices. Kyte powers online video for top media companies and brands, including ABC, Armani Exchange, Clear Channel, ESPN, Fox News, MTV, Monster Energy and NATO.




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Whisper is an anonymous social network that is revolutionizing the way millions are interacting and expressing themselves online. At Whisper, they believe you can only truly be yourself when no one else is watching, so they've built a cloaking device for your thoughts. Untraceable, invisible, no restrictions.


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TechStars is a different. It’s a mentorship-driven seed stage investment fund located in Boulder, Colorado which is quickly becoming one of the country’s top startup hubs.


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Robyn Ward

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Robyn runs New Media Ventures at UTA, working closely with UTA's portfolio of early-stage companies as well as making strategic investments. Prior to UTA, Ms Ward spent 15 years working at startups.

Adam Lilling

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