BEVERLY HILLS—An investment partnership was announced on Thursday, June 24, by Creative Artists Agency and the global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates.
The Beverly Hills and Silicon Valley-based companies will form Connect Ventures, an enterprise that is intended to help the growth of the early-stages of consumer-focused business, with early focuses being geared towards supporting businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Connect Ventures is uniquely positioned to identify and support the most innovative entrepreneurs, helping accelerate the growth of their businesses by providing access to the expertise, knowledge, and relationships of both CAA and NEA,” said Richard Lovett, President of CAA. “Connect Ventures will be deeply integrated into CAA’s ecosystem to help unlock new opportunities in the service of our clients.”
CAA has over 2,000 representatives that work with numerous clients that span across the sports and entertainment industry.
New Enterprise Associates has experience investing in technology and healthcare companies that include ventures related to commerce, media, and entertainment. Buzzfeed and Robin Hood are two enterprises that NEA contributed towards, which also include investments towards seminal software programming.
“In creating Connect Ventures, we’re bringing together two proven platforms built on decades of experience to unlock a really exciting opportunity set that is emerging at the intersection of culture and commerce, as well as data and software,” said Tony Florence, General Partner and Head of Technology Investing at NEA.
Connect Ventures launched this week with $100 million committed in the capital, but future investments to total up to $400 million through the partnerships.
The firm’s activities will be headed by Rick Yang, General Partner and Head of Consumer Investing at NEA. Michael Blank, Head of Consumer Investments at CAA, will help bridge the gap between the two departments and guide CAA’s involvement in Connect Ventures.
One of the first investments made by Connect Ventures during their launch is in Spire Animation Studios, which was created by Brad Lewis, Oscar-winning producer of Ratatouille, and technology and media entrepreneur P.J. Gunsagar. Their first full-length animated feature is set to release in 2023.