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Edgar Bronfman Jr. Forms Media Venture-Capital Firm With Luminari’s Daniel Leff

Edgar Bronfman Jr., former chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group, has co-founded a venture-capital company focused on media and entertainment along with VC investor Daniel Leff of Luminari Capital.

Waverley Capital (waverleycapital.com) will focus on investing in “innovative and disruptive companies” in the media and entertainment sectors. The firm is not currently raising capital, but Bronfman and Leff are targeting $100 million in capital commitments for the first fund.

Bronfman, as co-founder, chairman, and general partner of Waverley Capital, intends to spend a substantial portion of his time on the firm’s activities. Before he exited Warner Music in 2012 after selling the company, Bronfman was CEO of Seagram before he sold that business to Vivendi. Leff is co-founder and managing partner, and will run the firm’s day-to-day operations.

“Waverley is a continuation of what we’ve been doing with Luminari,” said Leff, who added that the VC firm will be hiring investment professionals and staff. The company has offices in New York and Palo Alto, Calif., with plans to open an L.A. office as well.

Luminari Capital was founded in 2013 and began making investments in April 2014. Bronfman has been one of the firm’s biggest single investors and has served as a senior adviser and special limited partner. Other investors include individual industry execs along with strategic investor Sky, which is 39% owned by 21st Century Fox.

Luminari has invested in several companies in the media sector, including Roku — which went public last month — over-the-top subscription-television provider FuboTV, The Athletic, and Pluto TV.  The fund has had three exits to date: Roku’s IPO; Cisco Systems’ 2015 acquisition of 1Mainstream; and Amazon’s acquisition of Elemental Technologies in 2015.

Waverley intends to focus on investing in early-stage companies (as has been Luminari Capital’s approach) with “ample capital reserved for follow-on investments in those companies,” Leff said.

About Waverley’s investment philosophy, Leff said, “There is a great unbundling going on in each sub-sector within the media industry as consumers demand content in new and different forms that map best to their evolving consumption behavior… There has never been a greater degree of competition for consumers’ time and attention, and a handful of colossal technology platforms are garnering increasing influence.”

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