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.
"We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right," NBC said in a statement. "As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes."
The network added that, provided the HFPA "executes on its plan" of reform, "it is hopeful we will be in a position to the air show in January 2023." The move follows revelations in February that the organization of 87 Los Angeles-based journalists who work for foreign media outlets lacks Black members — a gross omission that may have directly resulted in awards season contenders like "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" failing to earn nominations for the "Best Picture" category in February.
As a result of widespread criticism in recent months, the HFPA introduced a plan that would increase the number of Black reporters, as well as other people of color, in its ranks, by admitting 20 new members in 2021, with a specific focus on Black recruits. The group also proposed new restrictions on gifts and payments they can receive for their work on committees.
But the proposed reforms aren't appeasing some corners of Hollywood. Netflix, Amazon Studios and WarnerMedia have all declined to participate in any more HFPA events until the organization enacts significant and demonstrable changes.
"We know that you have many well-intentioned members who want real change — and that all of us have more work to do to create an equitable and inclusive industry," Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos wrote in a letter to the HFPA's Leadership Committee last week. "But Netflix and many of the talent and creators we work with cannot ignore the HFPA's collective failure to address these crucial issues with urgency and rigor."
Hollywood talent have recently joined the backlash, as well. On Monday, Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globe statues for his turns in "Born on the Fourth of July," "Magnolia," and "Jerry Maguire" in protest; last week, Scarlett Johansson, who has been nominated for four Golden Globe awards, urged the industry to "step back" from the annual awards.
"The HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition, and the industry followed suit," Johansson previously said in a statement. "Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole."
The second time was the charm for superagent-turned-mogul Ari Emanuel.
After facing the embarrassment of being forced to pull the initial public offering for Endeavor Group Holdings at the 11th hour in 2019, shares of his entertainment and live events conglomerate debuted Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange with a 5% gain.
Endeavor includes the venerable William Morris Agency and the sports and modeling agency IMG as well as live events as varied as the Professional Bull Riders tour and Miss Universe. Most appealing to investors, the firm is in the process of acquiring 100% of the mixed-martial-arts league UFC, which experienced considerable growth during the pandemic.
Endeavor's leaders Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, as well as UFC president Dana White, all appeared at the NYSE Thursday morning wearing black masks. Soon after, Endeavor stock began trading at $24 per share, which was the upper end of where it was priced.
With many live events cancelled, Endeavor brought in just $3.5 billion in revenue in 2020, resulting in a net loss of $625.3 million. In pre-pandemic 2019, it brought in $4.6 billion in revenue and recorded a net loss of $530.7 million.
But that did not scare off billionaire tech titans Larry Ellison and Michael Dell, who bought shares in the company, or Elon Musk, who joined the board of directors.
Endeavor was co-founded by Emanuel when he broke away from ICM in 1995. It merged with William Morris Agency in 2009, acquired IMG in 2014, and a stake in UFC in 2016.
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