Ads or a Check? With Miroma Ventures, Startups Get to Choose

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

At first glance, Broadway shows and early-stage startups would appear to have little in common. But ad mogul Marc Boyan thinks the way they're marketed is similar. He wants to take the expertise he gleaned leading campaigns for high-profile shows like "Hamilton" and "The Book of Mormon" to tech.


"The thing there with the Broadway stuff is that they create huge brands with small budgets," Boyan said. "Imagine if you could do that for tech startups."

Boyan announced Thursday that his company, The Miroma Group — one of the largest marketing services companies in Europe — is launching a new venture fund through Miroma Ventures, headquartered in Los Angeles and London.

The firm says it will distribute $100 million over the next few years to back purpose-driven consumer brands at the seed or Series A stage in the form of traditional checks, as well as marketing services. In other words, instead of just money, startups can opt to get access to Miroma's vast marketing engine, which in addition Broadway shows has powered campaigns for brands such as Adidas, Disney, L'Oreal and Heineken.

"Some may not want cash, some may only want cash," Boyan said. "We become partners more than suppliers and we have skin in the game."

Miroma Ventures has already invested in more than 50 media and consumer businesses around the world, including early-stage investments in Classpass and Pinterest.

After living in London, Boyan moved from New York to Beverly Hills during the pandemic and sees Los Angeles as an ideal hub for melding marketing and startups.

"You're getting access to a lot of talent – influencers, artists and celebrities," he said. "And we're so close to Silicon Valley. In London, I'm not close to anything but Berlin."

Will Schmitt, who co-founded Trail Post Ventures, a growth equity firm specializing in early-stage consumer investments, has been tasked with leading Miroma's venture strategy.

"We see a lot that we're excited about in terms of the early ecosystem and startups and innovation here within L.A., especially within food, beverage — anything kind of health and wellness, beauty, personal care," Schmitt said. "It's really a mecca for that."

The team at Miroma Ventures also includes Sir David Michels, former Deputy Chairman of the British retailer Marks & Spencer; Kelly McCarthy, former SVP at LVMH and GM/Sr Director at Nike; Justin Stefano, former co-founder and CEO at Refinery29; and Patrick Yee, former CMO of Daily Harvest.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said Boyan was a self-described billionaire but his representatives later clarified that he is not in fact a billionaire.

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Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

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