Comcast Ventures, the venture capital fund aimed at supporting and investing in start-up technology companies, will be folded into the media giant’s business development unit, the company said Friday.
Comcast Ventures will continue to operate under business development chief Sam Schwartz and focus on companies that support Comcast initiatives like broadband and streaming video. News of the change was first reported by CNBC.
“Comcast Ventures has been a valuable innovation pipeline, providing insight into adjacent industries and investment opportunities,” Comcast said in a statement. “We are aligning our approach to venture investing more closely with our business units and repositioning Comcast Ventures and its fund under the strategic business development team at Comcast Cable. Our business development teams across the company continue to invest in new technology and businesses, which we believe will yield more strategic opportunities and benefits for Comcast and the companies in which we invest. We will continue to support our existing portfolio companies through investment and strategic partnership.”
Comcast Ventures was formed in 2011 after the combination of Comcast Interactive Capital and NBCUniversal’s Peacock Equity Fund and has funded a number of startups, including Cheddar (sold to Altice USA in 2019), shared-ride service Lyft (which went public in 2019) and fantasy sports company FanDuel (sold to Flutter Entertainment in 2018). Its current portfolio includes more than 120 companies ranging from online video platform Vimeo, digital media company Vox Media and content discovery platform Taboola. The unit was headed by Amy Banse, who said in September that she would retire after 30 years with the company. Banse has agreed to stay as a senior advisor to the company through the end of 2021.
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.