Comcast has combined its venture capital arm Comcast Interactive Capital with the Peacock Equity Fund - formerly a venture capital affiliate of NBC Universal and General Electric - establishing a new fund called Comcast Ventures. The new entity manages a joint portfolio valued at about $750 million and is led by former Comcast Interactive Media president Amy Banse.
Comcast Ventures will invest in early-to-late stage businesses involved in the next generation of entertainment, communications and digital technology. As part of her new role as managing director and head of funds at the combined entity, Banse will relocate to San Francisco, focusing on sectors such as digital media, e-commerce and entertainment. In addition to the San Francisco location, Comcast Ventures will maintain its offices in New York, Philadelphia and London. Banse will report to Comcast chief financial officer Michael Angelakis.
Comcast owns a 51% interest in NBC Universal, a joint venture with General Electric that includes the NBC broadcast network, cable channels and Universal Pictures.
Combining the venture capital units makes sense in the wake of Comcast's joint venture with
"Technology is changing the way the world communicates, creates and consumes," Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. "We are excited by the future and want to partner with the entrepreneurs who are driving that change. Amy is an innovator at heart, having launched many businesses within Comcast. I am confident that Comcast Ventures will flourish under her skillful leadership."
Banse is a 20-year Comcast veteran, and most recently served as president of Comcast Interactive Media, where she led Comcast's online strategy and oversaw the acquisitions of Fandange, Daily Candy, Plaxo and thePlatform, as well as the in-house development and management of www.Comcast.net, www.XfinityTV.com, and Swirl (Daily Candy's sample sales site). Banse previously served as executive vice president of content development where she oversaw the development of the company's cable network portfolio, including investments in E! Entertainment Television, The Golf Channel and Versus, and the development and launch of G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One and Comcast's sports networks.
"It's an exciting time to be in venture capital," Banse said in a statement. "Advances in software development, more effective marketing enabled by social networks and capital efficient business models are fueling rapid innovation. With our experienced investment team, our access to vast cable distribution and our affiliation with broad-based entertainment assets, Comcast Ventures is well positioned to provide insights and support to great entrepreneurs with radical, industry-changing ideas."
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