- Tech evangelist Rich Greenfield announced a new investment arm that has $75 million to invest.
- The new LightShed Ventures fund is targeting audio, creator space and subscription businesses.
- As for his top stock picks, he’s high on big internet platforms with data and analytics like Snap and Twitter.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Rich Greenfield, one of Wall Street’s most influential entertainment sector commentators, is launching a new venture capital arm to invest in disruptive, early stage, private companies.
Greenfield’s new arm, LightShed Ventures, has already invested in Podchaser, an IMDB-style company for podcasts; Antenna Analytics, a streaming data firm, and Slip.stream, a royalty-free music catalogue for creators, according to a company statement set to be released on Thursday. The arm just closed its first $75 million fund.
LightShed Ventures’ general partners are Greenfield and fellow founders of research firm LightShed Partners Walter Piecyk, who specializes in telecoms; Brandon Ross, a gaming sector expert; and Jamie Roberts Seltzer.
Together they’ll invest anywhere between $500,000 and $5 million in seed capital and Series A funding. The fund is backed by an institutional investor and high net worth individuals well known in the tech, media and financial worlds. Their identities are, naturally, private.
Greenfield’s thoughts on the future of tech and media have an ardent following on Twitter. He is loved by the tech industry and loathed by those atop big public media companies for his contrarian views and spiky questioning of chief executives. He was among the first to recognize the financial implications of cord-cutting on traditional TV economics.
“The pace of disruption across the TMT (telecom, media, tech) ecosystem has never been greater. The amount of companies being created and the amount of change that’s happening; this is the perfect moment in time to put capital to work,” Greenfield told Insider.
Greenfield is known for his contrarian, pro-technology market theses, praising Warner Media’s move to put theatrical movies on HBO Max and urging Disney early on to cannibalize itself to compete with Netflix.
As for potential conflicts of interest, Greenfield said: “The only reason people pay for our research work is, we help them make money in stocks that go up and stocks that go down. Longs and shorts is what we get paid for, researchwise. It doesn’t make any sense for us to do something that would not be in the best interests of our research clients. We’re not investing in any public companies; this is a private investment fund.”
Greenfield’s new fund is eyeing audio, creators, and video games
Among his better calls, Greenfield suggested media companies buy then-private Facebook back on June 22, 2007, when the social media company had just 24 million users and was picking up 100,000 users a day. Facebook went public in 2012. The market, however, can confound even Greenfield, who noted in January that he made a bad call on Disney, which despite struggling with crumbling traditional businesses has had a strong stock run thanks to investor interest in its streaming subscription story.
The new venture arm is particularly interested in the rapid growth of the audio industry, the creator space, subscription businesses, and the evolution of video games. Not high on the list of targets are adtech, e-sports and premium video content creation, he said.
“We are always digging for what’s new and disruptive,” said Greenfield, “We went to see Maker Studios when it was a taco stand in Hollywood…All of premium TV is being disrupted by user generated content. Look at what MrBeast has done, and Charli D’Amilio. All of the rules of the media industry are changing.”
He said the firm is doing a lot of research in sports betting, something that just a few years ago was not a high priority. As for LightShed’s top stock picks this year, Greenfield is placing his bets on big internet platforms with data and analytics.
“Look at Snap and look at Twitter,” he said. “We’ve been very positive on both of those names and Brandon [Ross] would look at Activision as a very important name benefitting from the change in behavior.”
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