United Talent Agency is linking with former stakeholder Investcorp to create a strategic partnership that will invest in startups focused on culture and technology, including Web3 and the creator economy.
The new venture is called UTA.VC. Investcorp is a previous investor in the Beverly Hills-based agency; it first backed UTA in 2018 but sold its stake in July to Swedish private equity firm EQT Partners for a reported $800 million.
Now, UTA and Investcorp are looking to invest in startups that are synergistic with areas UTA has long been interested in, whether as an investor or agency – including entertainment, creator-focused startups, consumer products and, more recently, Web3 and NFTs.
UTA.VC will be led by UTA general partners Caroline Jacobs, Clinton Foy and Sam Wick. Anand Radhakrishnan, managing director of Investcorp’s United States private equity division, will serve as a partner.
In a press release Wednesday, UTA.VC said it is targeting companies working in the creator economy, Web3 and the future of entertainment. Vague, yes, but UTA said it defines this as “technologies driving the production, distribution and consumption of content.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. UTA wouldn't disclose the size of the strategic partnership’s fund, though the UTA.VC website notes several recent investments, including blockchain company Consensys (where Jacobs is a board observer), influencer marketing tool Bounty and NFT marketplace Percs.
The agency has been investing in startups since at least 2014, under the banner of UTA Ventures. Notable local investments UTA Ventures has made over the years include Pluto TV, NTWRK and Cloud9 Esports. UTA Ventures also backed firms that went from tech upstarts to household names, including Patreon, Lyft, MasterClass and Cameo.
Venture funding database PitchBook notes UTA Ventures investments date back as far as 2012. Its biggest hits include Santa Monica-based YouTube channel AwesomenessTV, which sold to DreamWorks Animation in May 2013 for $33 million.
“UTA.VC is the next evolution of UTA’s venture platform,” Foy and Wick said in a statement Wednesday. “The strategic partnership builds on our successful previous investments in companies… and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to invest and partner with the next generation of companies in this space.”
Other competitors to UTA such as the Creative Artists Agency and Endeavor are prolific investors in tech. Within the last two years, CAA Ventures has seen sales of portfolio companies including Genies, Thatgamecompany and Hinge. Endeavor’s been on the buy side of a number of deals so far this year, as well. Solidifying its venture capital thesis and shoring up a firm that is dedicated specifically to identifying potential moonshots in the startup community is a key way for UTA to prove it’s a competitor.
- Rena Ronson, Partner and Co-Head of the Independent Film Group ... ›
- UTA Explains Why It's Going Big on NFTs - dot.LA ›
- Hollywood Mega-Agency UTA Goes to Market for a Foothold in ... ›
- UTA's Sam Wick On Building Celebrity Startups - dot.LA ›
- Influencers Are Launching Venture Capital Funds - dot.LA ›
- Tongal and NBCUniversal Are Turning Fans Into Marketers - dot.LA ›