The team at indie Wall Street analyst house LightShed Partners has expanded beyond selling research into the venture-investing game.
The analyst firm’s founders have formed LightShed Ventures, a new venture investment company targeting early-stage tech, media and telecom startups, that has closed an initial fund of $75 million. The LightShed Ventures Fund I will invest principally in seed and Series A rounds of “category-defining private companies” across the tech, media and telecom categories.
LightShed Ventures was co-founded by general partners Richard Greenfield, Walter Piecyk and Brandon Ross — all previously analysts at BTIG Research who exited that firm to form LightShed Partners in 2019 — and Jamie Roberts Seltzer, most recently entrepreneur-in-residence and investor at Waverley Capital, the VC and private-equity firm founded by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Daniel Leff.
Formed last fall, LightShed Ventures has already made investments in four companies: Podchaser, which bills itself as “the IMDb of podcasts”; Slipstream, which maintains a royalty-free catalog of music and sound effects for creators; Antenna, which sells research and analytics covering digital subscription businesses; and an unidentified company “in the creator space.”
LightShed Ventures isn’t disclosing the identities of the limited partners contributing to their fund. The backers are described as “one significant institutional investor” and “an incredible group” of angel investors comprising executives in media, telecom, tech, sports, entertainment, music and finance.
Will the LightShed crew run into conflicts of interest, real or perceived, given that they’re wearing two different hats? Greenfield insisted that there is “absolutely no conflict of interest” between the research and recommendations sold by LightShed Partners and the new investment firm. He told Variety that LightShed Ventures has abstained from taking funding “from the C-suite execs of companies we cover.”
According to Greenfield, LightShed’s research subscribers “pay us for advice on whether to buy or sell public companies and help them make money on public investments.” He continued, “A private venture fund that only invests in private companies has no impact on the integrity or independence of our public market research beyond hopefully making our public market advice and recommendations even better, as our angel investing over the past 15 years has clearly done.”
Publicly traded companies in LightShed Partners’ coverage portfolio are Disney, Netflix, Fubo, Live Nation, Activision Blizzard, American Tower, Crown Castle, Loral Space, the Madison Square Garden Co. and Madison Square Garden Entertainment, Radius Global, SBA Communications, Snap and Twitter.
Greenfield said the thematic research of LightShed Partners “remains our lifeblood” and will serve as the foundation for investments made by LightShed Ventures. In addition to its syndicated research, LightShed Partners produces a weekly podcast and a live interview series.