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Investment Bank MESA Raises $10M Fund For Early-Stage Deals

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MESA, a boutique investment bank headquartered in New York City, just announced that it has raised $10 million for an early-stage investment fund that it’s calling MESA+.

Jacob Brody, formerly MESA’s head of community and business development and now one of the fund’s three partners, told me that MESA+ plans to invest between $50,000 and $250,000 in rounds of between $500,000 and $5 million, and that it doesn’t intend to take any board seats.

What really differentiates the fund, Brody said, is its ability to connect startups to the media and entertainment industries. The investment bank’s vice president Andrew Montgomery, who’s also a partner in the fund, said that MESA (the name stands for Media & Entertainment Strategy Advisors) has been helping entrepreneurs on this front for a while, but until it raised the new fund, “there was no business model for us to work with early-stage companies.”

“We understand both sides,” Brody said. “We can understand the entrepreneur’s side, as well as these larger corporations in the media and entertainment side larger businesses.”

Some of those larger corporations have actually invested in MESA+. The fund’s limited partners include publisher Conde Nast, digital media investor Saban Capital, and Sony Music. There’s also an LP advisory board that includes Michael Paull, executive vice president of global digital business at Sony Music, and Jonathan Miller, the former chief digital officer at News Corp.

MESA+ actually raised the fund and started investing several months ago, but Brody and his partners didn’t want to “launch” it until they had several investments under their belt. At this point it has already invested in seven companies — the publicly disclosed ones include Republic Project, Red Tricycle, Bre.ad, and TripleLift.

The fund’s investments will focus on digital content, advertising, marketing, and commerce. The portfolio is currently spread out about half-and-half between New York and the West Coast, but Montgomery predicted that it will probably skew more heavily towards NYC.

By the way, Brody and I both used to write for VentureBeat, so I can say that he always seemed to know everyone on the startup scene, especially in New York. As far as I can tell, he wears nothing but startup T-shirts — though now that he’s an investor, Brody said he’s had to be a little more careful about wearing T-shirts advertising direct competitors to his portfolio companies.