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International news agency Bloomberg is taking a shot at the venture capital game with its new fund, Bloomberg Beta, which was launched yesterday and is designed to invest in early-stage startups.
Headed up by Roy Bahat, the former head of IGN Entertainment and current chairman of Ouya – the open source, Kickstarter-funded video game hardware startup — the US$75 million fund has already invested in nine companies such as ProsperWorks, Codecademy and Newsle.
Bloomberg Beta is an independent entity to Bloomberg (although the latter remains its sole limited partnership), but the fund could well leverage Bloomberg’s areas of expertise – media distribution; financial software tools; big data services and platforms; enterprise solutions – to make smart investment decisions.
Despite focusing on early-stage companies, Bloomberg Beta wants to be adaptable, as Bahat told TechCrunch:
We’re happy to go as early as the womb to find investable opportunities… We’re happy to lead, or be the only check in. But we’re also happy to syndicate. We’re optimizing for the best companies.
Down the line Bahat sees Beta as having a role in the incubation space as he tells TechCrunch, “we look at this as the natural progression of venture funds becoming progressively more operational.”
Bloomberg Beta is not the first example of a media or entertainment company forming a VC fund focused on early-stage startups; this trend has already seen Time Warner Investments and Hearst Ventures (of Hearst Interactive Media) come into fruition to name but a couple of examples.
Bahat, who will head up the San Francisco offices and look after west coast investments, will have two more partners to help: Karen Klein in charge of the New York offices and East Cost investments; and James Cham, former principal at Trinity Ventures.