$20 mil private fund for tech-driven opps

NEW YORK — Primedia Inc. announced it has committed a pool of $20 million to Primedia Ventures — a private fund to invest in early-stage Internet companies and other technology-driven opportunities.

The fund is being headed by Larry Phillips, who joined Primedia in 1995 as corporate staff director of new media. Phillips, 31, previously worked at Unterberg Harris as an investment banker specializing in information technology.

Primedia Ventures’ first investment is in a joint venture between Primedia publication Modern Bride and Internet Gift Registries. The venture will attempt to bring electronic commerce to the $8 billion wedding-registry market. “Although it’s prototypical,” Phillips said of the investment, “we’re also interested in doing ventures with not as tight elements.”

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