Southern California law firm Stubbs Alderton & Markiles is expanding its early-stage accelerator program in partnership with Peter Csathy, head of independent strategic consulting firm Creatv Media, an initiative that will include seeking out potential investments in promising young startups.
Stubbs Alderton expects to double the number of companies in the Preccelerator prorgram, first launched in 2012, which offers a collaborative work space and an array of legal and business services to startups. Csathy will remain chairman of Creatv Media, which he formed last year after leaving as CEO of Manatt Digital Media, and will join the board of directors of the Stubbs accelerator program to lead its investment strategy and oversee anticipated investments.
When the Preccelerator program first started, Stubbs Alderton didn’t take equity in the ventures under its wing. Now the firm is looking to make strategic investments, said Greg Akselrud, founding partner of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles who heads the firm’s internet, digital media and entertainment practice. The partnership will also look to expand the overall services it offers to clients by combining Creatv Media’s network of relationships and advisory services with Stubbs Alderton’s expanding scope of legal services.
“This takes it to the next level,” Akselrud said. Stubbs Alderton and Csathy “were both looking at ways to strategically grow in 2017, and the paths to do that,” he said. “We’re really excited about partnering with Peter. He’s a thought leader in the space.”
The goal of the Preccelerator remains the same: to help grow a founder’s idea from business concept to a funded company.
Akselrud is also joining the board of the Preccelerator; Louis Wharton, a law firm partner and current director of the Preccelerator, is now president of the group; and Heidi Hubbeling, the law firm’s director of marketing, has been named COO of the Preccelerator.
Csathy, for his part, called Stubbs “the most entrepreneurial firm out there.” Many new Preccelerator clients will likely be local to Southern California, he said, but “we’re not limiting ourselves to that,” he said. In addition to providing resources to startups, the program can advise strategic funds and investment groups in major media companies that are interested in identifying the most promising early-stage companies, said Csathy, who this month published “Media 2.0(17): An Insider’s Guide to Today’s World of Digital Media & Where It’s Going” as an e-book.
The law firm is accepting applications to the Preccelerator at this link. Stubbs Alderton’s investment scope will be broadly focused on “digital media with technology convergence,” Akselrud said, including content platforms, virtual reality and augmented reality, cloud services for the digital media ecosystem.
Stubbs Alderton does not have a dollar figure pegged for how much it expects to invest in Preccelerator companies, according to Akselrud. The group plans to identify potential candidates in the first half of 2017, with engagements targeted for the back half of the year.
To date, the Preccelerator program has graduated five classes with the majority of the 22 companies being accepted into larger accelerator programs and incubators or successfully raising their seed funding round. Those have included: 3Ten8, which tracks wireless analytics; Team(You), whose platform that incentivizes students to attend school, perform well academically, and perform acts of service; and Rally Networks, which provides an iOS-compatible wireless charger that also acts as a third-party affiliate marketing tool for businesses.
The Preccelerator offers companies co-working space in the firm’s Santa Monica office, plus access to mentors providing free office hours and discounted services from participating companies including LA Venture Association (LAVA), Silicon Valley Bank, Amazon Web Services and Trinet. The program also provides more than 50 educational workshops and networking events per year, and perks including credits from partners like Google Cloud for Startups, Amazon Web Services, HubSpot, and Facebooks’ FbStart program.
Stubbs Alderton & Markiles clients span a range of industries with a concentration in technology, entertainment, video game, apparel and medical device sectors. Current clients include Rdio (bought by Pandora), New Form, Indigenous Media, THX and virtual-reality startup Within.