LA Venture: The Future of Media According to Waverly Capital Co-Founder Daniel Leff

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, sit down with Daniel Leff, the founder and managing partner of Luminari Capital, as well as the co-founder and managing partner of his latest fund, Waverley Capital.

Leff has spent 22 years investing in media space. Both Waverley Capital and Luminari Capital are focused on investing in digital media disruptors and innovators.

In this conversation, Leff shared some insights on his work with Waverley co-founder Edgar Bronfman Jr., the CEO of Warner Music Group and former CEO of Universal Studios.

Leff says he and Bronfman see their fund's mission as "trying to find invest in and help build what we call category defining media companies."

Leff has devoted his career to this mission; he was the second institutional investor in Roku. Today, his portfolio includes Headspace, Wondery, FuboTV, Matterport and The Athletic.

He says media is a unique industry, especially in L.A.

"In the media industry, it's a different path to be disruptive," he says. "Business is done differently. It's almost never that a very young person can come into the market and rail against the establishment and expect to be successful."

He argues it's important for both startups and enterprise companies to not "chase the past" and to recognize that you cannot "put Disney out of business. You can't put Comcast out of business. You can't put Viacom out of business… but you can disrupt them."

In the rest of this episode, Daniel shared about how he got established in media, his connection with Roku founder Anthony Wood and his plans for moving forward.

Daniel Leff is the the founder and managing partner of Luminari Capital, and the co-founder and managing partner of Waverley Capital.

"People say content wants to be free. No it doesn't. Great content requires a lot of investment."—Daniel Leff

dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.

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Here’s the Latest on Fifth Wall’s Early-Stage Climate Tech Fund

Harrison Weber

Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send non-sensitive tips on L.A. deals to Pronouns: they/them.

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely by downloading Signal on a non-work device: +1 917 434 4978.

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David Shultz
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Sarah Favot

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