The news broke yesterday (here)that yet another early stage digital media investment fund is starting, this time to invest it LA-based companies. The investment partners are William Morris Agency, Accel Ventures, Venrock and AT&T. None of that is too surprising, and I wouldn't normally focus on it since there are numerous players chasing the Hollywood Meets Silicon Valley dream, just as there were last Bubble, and most of them go away quietly or blow up spectacularly.
However, for me the key difference here is that Richard Wolpert (picture), my former boss at RealNetworks (NASDAQ: RNWK) will be overseeing the fund. Richard helped lead the acquisition of the Rhapsody music service when I was running it, and then he did a great job at managing Real's consumer business for the year that I was there. For those who don't know Richard, he is one of the few executives who can actually fuse business, technology and media, and he has a great track record of doing so, including running Disney's Internet Group, being Chief Strategy Officer at Real, and originally starting his own software company, which he successfully sold.
In addition to his executive roles, Richard is an angel investor in a bunch of early stage entertainment companies, such as 3 Rings, home of casual MMO Puzzle Pirates, and he's a frequent blogger as well (here). Finally, he's a power player in the LA media scene, having formerly had an interesting partnership with billionaire Ron Burkle and super-agent Michael Ovitz, so all in all, it's a great mix of skills, experience and relationships for the new fund.
It's too bad Meez is located here in SF :(