My vision since day #1 of joining this agency has been to foster relationships with early stage technology companies, as they are the rapid innovators within the market place. The agency world has a lot to learn from them and their rapid pace inspires much of what we do.
I have begun executing on this vision with the awesome people in the agency by hosting The Media Kitchen Digital Media Venture Capital Conference (3 years in a row), Speaker Series events featuring prominent founders and VCs, Lunch & Learns with startups, and being open to the dozens of startups and VCs that reach out each year for introductions.
I recognize the value of innovation and startups within the advertising agency landscape because I grew up on that side of town. I got my premature grey hair founding multiple startups and raising lots of Venture Capital and both losing my shirt and winning it back. I didn’t sleep at night because I knew that our staff had families to feed and if we didn’t hit our revenue goals, we’d go hungry. I had been on a Ramen diet for much of the early 2000s. It’s hard to grasp being an entrepreneur when you don’t participate in the lifestyle and career choice.
Announced today is the evolution of both the agency and myself, a step towards aligning ourselves with innovation in even a greater sense of the word. Not only will we bring startups and fantastic entrepreneurs inside our walls for advertising related opportunities, but we’ll even take it a step further and fund them as well through our new investment arm, kbs+p Ventures. You can view the website here.
I’ll continue to lead, inspire, and execute against Chief Digital Media Officer responsibilities with the added responsibility of sourcing, analyzing, and green lighting (along with our investment committee) seed & early stage technology driven investment opportunities that provide mutual value to both the entrepreneur and to our agency at large.
There are three areas that we look for in opportunities that aren’t dissimilar to other investment arms/funds:
- Team: Are we backing the best possible people who are exploring an idea thesis? If not, what needs to be added to the team?
- Idea: We like to back big ideas that can be executed against today. If the idea is too large and is too far out in the future, then the idea isn’t for us, kbs+p Ventures.
- Demonstrable Traction: We like to see momentum. Can you demonstrate traction that you have gained with your idea? Do you have either an open or private beta? Demonstrable traction shows us two things: 1) the market at some level is taking to the idea and 2) it shows us that you can execute.
I’m looking forward to backing some fantastic entrepreneurs and investing alongside my friends at various funds. We generally do not lead investment rounds and we’re complimentary to any super angel or early stage fund.
I’m excited to bring Madison Avenue and Sand Hill Road together. It’s been way too long for this to happen and as the advertising world is becoming increasingly digital, it makes a ton of sense.
Thanks to all who supported the launch of kbs+p Ventures!