×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ICM, Manatt and Originate Form Incubator for Media and Tech Startups

ICM Partners, software developer Originate and law and consulting firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips have created O Labs, a joint venture designed to fund and develop media and technology startups by pooling resources from each partner.

L.A.-based O Labs expects to launch three to five companies per year. The JV is led by CEO Matthew Pierce, previously Originate’s VP of strategy.

“The idea is, we’re bringing together three very well-respected and high-end service companies to build and operates companies that can address the needs of enterprise,” Pierce said.

O Labs, which has been in the works for 18 months, will have access to some 120 product designers and developers from Originate, legal and business experts from Manatt, and industry relationships and insights from ICM agents. The venture has a budget for the first two years, and each partner has committed personnel to O Labs.

There’s no preset amount of money set aside for the startups that O Labs will be incubating, and each project will have its own unique requirements, Pierce said. “We want to make sure we are investing in ideas we can put a lot of resources into,” he said. “It’s not, ‘We’ll give you $30,000 and you can come sit in our office.’ It’s not a cookie-cutter approach.”

O Labs’ first portfolio company, Versus, has developed a platform that lets videogamers wager real money in online tournaments. The startup, co-founded with game developer Brandii Grace, epitomizes the disciplines that each of the partners brings to bear, according to Pierce. The software is built by Originate, Manatt provides legal counsel in gaming, advertising, intellectual property and sweepstakes law, and ICM contributes expertise in brand positioning, sales and marketing.

“The first question a potential acquirer is going to ask about this is, How is this legal?” said Sarah Chambless, an associate in Manatt’s corporate and finance practice. With Versus, “we literally had to build the site so it was legally compliant for each jurisdiction, instead of doing that after the fact.”

O Labs will own a “very large position” in each portfolio company, Pierce said, with the exit strategy varying. “We’ve all got fairly solid relationships with outside investors,” he said. “We have a history of doing M&A and financing.”

The JV’s investment committee comprises Pierce, Manatt partner T. Hale Boggs, Originate CFO Jeff Scheinrock and Keyvan Peymani, ICM’s managing director of ICM’s digital strategy division. The venture currently is evaluating startup ideas in areas including short-form content, over-the-top video and financial services.

“The media industry, like many others, is facing fundamental changes from every conceivable angle,” Peymani said in a statement. “For several years, ICM Partners has been partnering with the top entrepreneurs, VCs and startup communities around the world to help build world-class companies that will shape our industry. This new model is another step forward.”

More Digital

  • Chelsea Ursin, Host of Dear Young

    'Disgraceland' Host Expands iHeartMedia Partnership With Slate of New Music Podcasts

    Jake Brennan, the creator and host of popular podcast “Disgraceland,” and his business partner Brady Sadler have launched Double Elvis Productions, a new audio-driven media company that will create original entertainment properties. Its initial slate of projects include four music-focused podcasts in partnership with iHeartMedia and as part of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts. The first on deck [...]

  • Disney-Plus-mobile-app

    Disney Responds to Disney Plus Hacked Accounts: 'No Evidence of a Security Breach'

    Thousands of Disney Plus accounts have reportedly been hacked and stolen — and offered for sale on underground cybercrime forums. Disney has now responded, saying only a “small percentage” of the service’s 10 million-plus users have seen their usernames and passwords compromised and that Disney Plus systems were not breached by hackers. “We have found [...]

  • Tony Parker159th charity wine auction at

    Tony Parker to Be Ambassador for Game Shakers Awards at Esports BAR Cannes

    Former basketball star and entrepreneur Tony Parker will be the ambassador for the third edition of the Game Shakers Awards during Esports BAR Cannes, the three-day conference hosted by Reed Midem, the organizer of MipTV, Mipcom and Midem. Set to take place Feb. 11, 2020, the Game Shakers Awards is a competitive section bringing together [...]

  • K. Guru Gowrappan - Oath -

    Verizon Is Not Selling HuffPost, Telco's Media Boss Says

    Verizon is not selling HuffPost, according to Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan — who insisted the news and opinion site is central to its content strategy. “We are not selling HuffPost,” said Gowrappan, speaking at the Code Media conference in L.A. Tuesday. “It’s so core to our content… We are focusing on creating good journalism, [...]

  • Disney Kevin Mayer Recode Media

    Disney Streaming Boss Kevin Mayer: App Architecture to Blame for Disney Plus Stumbles

    No, it wasn’t Amazon’s fault that Disney Plus struggled following its launch last week: Disney direct-to-consumer chairman Kevin Mayer told the audience of Recode’s Code Media conference in Los Angeles Tuesday that there really wasn’t anyone to blame but Disney’s own technology. “It had we to do with the way we architected the app,” Mayer [...]

  • Disney-Plus-Logo

    Disney Plus Customer Service Still Experiencing 'High Volume' of Help Inquiries

    Disney Plus got off to a rocky start with widespread technical problems for the streaming service on launch day — and a week later, the company says it’s still seeing a high level of incoming calls from users who are having problems. Disney announced one day after the launch that more than 10 million people [...]

  • The Game Awards

    The Game Awards 2019 Nominees: 'Death Stranding,' 'Control' Lead the Field (Full List)

    The Game Awards 2019 unveiled nominations for this year’s event, led by Hideo Kojima’s epic “Death Stranding” with nine nods and Remedy/505 Games’ “Control” with eight nominations. This year’s Game of the Year nominees, in addition to “Control” and “Death Stranding,” are “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” “Resident Evil 2,” “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” and “The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content