After more than a decade, digital media businesses are finally starting to come into their own, as advertising and subscription dollars are moving from traditional media online. With that in mind, there’s a new fund being formed to make investments in digital media companies, from legal and consulting firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. And that fund will be led by a digital media veteran, Sorenson Media CEO Peter Csathy.
Manatt is a global legal and consulting practice which has been around since 1965. The firm already has a number of clients in media, including big names like BMG Rights Management and DirecTV. Through its venture fund, the firm has made more than 90 investments, including a few investments in digital media startups like Pinterest and Etsy.
But it’s now interested in getting deeper into digital media investment, and brought on Csathy to lead the charge in that area. It’s also formed a fund from partners within the firm and LPs to focus on investments in digital media, entertainment, and advertising. The digital media program will be chaired by T. Hale Boggs, who founded the firm’s Silicon Valley office in 1998 and its San Francisco office in 2007.
For his part, Csathy has a background in the digital media world, after a long stint at Sorenson Media. That company provides encoding tools and a platform for video distribution for media companies and online publishers. Prior to that, he was CEO of digital video startup SightSpeed, which was acquired by Logitech. As part of the transition, he’ll remain a board member at Sorenson Media.
Csathy was hired in part due to his entrepreneurial and operations background, which will be vital as he evaluates potential investments for the firm. He’ll spend most of his time working out of the firm’s Los Angeles office, though he’ll also be spending ample time in San Francisco and New York City. The firm also looks to hook into some of the various accelerators to work with companies that participate in them.
Through the new digital media group, Csathy expects to make about 15 investments a year, writing checks anywhere between $15,000 and $600,000, depending on the opportunity. While he doesn’t expect to lead many investments, Csathy and Manatt will be looking to work with various other venture firms on their deals.
Good luck to ’em! We need more well-funded online video and social TV startups, after all.