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

  • AVOD streaming video OTT users -

    Comcast Unveils 'Flex,' a Streaming Service for Internet Customers

    Comcast said it would unveil “Flex,” a hub for its Internet-only customers that allows them to stream and purchase shows and movies, the latest effort by a traditional cable provider to latch on to customers who are migrating to broadband services, The Philadelphia cable giant will also make free, ad-supported services available via the service, [...]

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • Facebook's 'Red Table Talk' Garners Daytime

    Facebook's 'Red Table Talk' Garners Daytime Emmy Nomination

    Facebook is now in the awards hunt: Its popular original series “Red Table Talk” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith was nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy. It appears to be the first-ever Daytime Emmy Awards nomination for a Facebook-funded show, although a company rep was unable to confirm that. “Red Table Talk” is nominated in [...]

  • MLB-TV

    MLB.TV Joins Lineup on Amazon's Prime Video Channels

    Amazon has launched MLB.TV on Prime Video Channels for Prime members in the U.S., just in time for the start of Major League Baseball’s 2019 regular season start next week. The MLB.TV package provides regular-season out-of-market baseball games, both live and on-demand. Prime members in the U.S. can subscribe to MLB.TV for $24.99 per month, [...]

  • Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid

    Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid First Earnings Report

    Proving that good is not always good enough, Tencent Music Entertainment shares fell 9 percent after the Chinese company released its 2018 earnings, wiping out $2.7 billion in market capitalization of what is arguably the biggest audio music service in the world. Chalk it up to big expectations and a short track record: Wednesday’s earnings [...]

  • PewDiePie - YouTube

    PewDiePie vs. T-Series: YouTube Channels Keep Battling for No. 1 Spot

    UPDATED, 3/21: The back-and-forth battle for YouTube’s No. 1 spot continues. T-Series on Thursday again pulled ahead of YouTube’s PewDiePie as the No. 1 most-subscribed channel on the platform — coming a day after T-Series briefly topped the vlogger-gamer-comedian and renewing fans’ support him. In a months-long symbolic running battle for the title, PewDiePie and his [...]

  • Netflix to Test Special Video Previews

    Netflix Will Test Character-Driven Video Previews for Its Kids Content

    Netflix is getting ready to try a new thing to help younger viewers discover new shows: The video service will start testing character-driven video previews of some of its shows later this year, executives revealed during a press event in Los Angeles Tuesday. The test, which will be rolled out on some members’ TV devices [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content