Verizon Ventures Seeks To Double Portfolio And Investment Capital

Verizon Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Internet, phone, and wireless networking services company, will look to double its portfolio and the capital it invests in startup companies, TechCrunch has learned.

Speaking ahead of his participation in the Made In NY Media Center Demo Day, Verizon Ventures associate director of corporate strategy and development, Tom Constabile, said that the firm would look to increase the number of investments it makes and the amount of capital it invests. Because it invests off of the corporate balance sheet, Constabile did not disclose the size of the fund or the scope of its investments.

“We’re looking to expand the program,” Constabile said. “We’re looking to double the number of investments we make and the amount of capital that we make available.”

Although it has been investing for nearly a decade, the investment shop is relatively quiet, and not as active when compared with the larger, better known venture shops at Google, SAP or Intel. Now Constabile said his firm was looking to be more opportunistic, and expand the scope of its investments beyond strategic technologies that could be folded in to enhance Verizon’s bread and butter business of networking and connectivity.

From its offices in Basking Ridge, NJ, New York, Palo Alto, Calif., and San Francisco, Verizon Ventures invests in technologies like connected devices and hardware, media and entertainment, commerce and advertising, networking and infrastructure, and data and analytics. The firm recently posted a graphic synopsis of its investment themes, programs and recent portfolio companies.

The firm is stage-agnostic, making investments in Series A and B rounds in the past three months, with its decisions to back Adstage, an advertising management service across search and social media sites, and Kinvey, an app development platform, respectively.

“Where we’ve spoken loudest in this space are in the investments we’ve made with 4G and fiber, but also the acquisitions we’ve made,” Constabile said. “We acquired Edgecast and Uplink to put us at the forefront of video and media solutions.” The company also bought Oncue and other properties from Intel to bulk up its video offerings.

In a blog post announcing the firm’s new website from August, Verizon’s senior vice president of investor relations, described the firm’s benefits to a new audience.

More than just a source of funding, Verizon Ventures combines the power of experienced investment professionals with a focused venture development team and connections to Verizon’s core business. No other venture team can tap into the depth and breadth of the Verizon ecosystem, and we are proud to be the bridge that connects portfolio companies with strategic and financial resources that advance their businesses.

We also pride ourselves on serving as a long-term partner. In addition to financial investment, companies turn to Verizon Ventures for access to our global networks, go-to-market roadmap, marketing support, business development opportunities, strategic insights, deep expertise, network tools and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and significant understanding of the myriad elements of growing a successful company.

Our ideal investment is one in which we can add value to the business through financial and strategic resources. Verizon’s investment categories are directly related to our strategic direction, and range from Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider CloudBees to software-defined-networking company ConteXstream. One recent investment Flint is a mobile payment service for small businesses that makes it easier than ever to accept credit card payments – by scanning instead of swiping – or via online invoice payments. Verizon Ventures helps these companies, and many others, by providing access to our global networks, platforms, subject matter experts and distribution channels to advance their businesses.

“We’re closer to what Samsung and Microsoft are,” says Constabile of his firm’s approach to venture investment. Investments from Verizon aim to ensure that the technology interfaces with the network are seamless and that the network itself is reliable and available… and as fast as possible, according to Constabile.