Verizon Ventures and R/GA partner to launch a digital media ‘venture studio’ – TechCrunch
Verizon Ventures and R/GA are announcing a new program called the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio.
Stephen Plumlee, R/GAâs global COO and managing partner of R/GA Ventures, explainedÂ that the interactiveÂ agencyâsÂ âventure studiosâ started out similar to other startup accelerator programs, but theyâve expanded to provide access to âfinancial capital, creative capital and client relationship capital.â In other words, startups donât just get funding and advice â they also work onÂ products and partnershipsÂ with R/GAâs creative staff and clients.
In this case, the Media Tech Venture Studio is a 14-week program for up to 10 companies, whichÂ will receive $100,000 in funding each and work out of Verizonâs new âopen innovationâ space in New YorkÂ City. The companyÂ says itâs looking for startupsÂ in areas like content creation and personalization, virtual reality and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, content distribution, interactive advertising and e-sports.
âThe idea is for Verizon to really get out there and see whatâs going on in the market,â said Paul Heitlinger of Verizon Ventures. âWhatâs really compelling for the companiesÂ who participate is, they get to work directly with Verizonâs business units. â¦ They get access to our technologies, our networks, all behind-the-scenes stuff.â
At the same time, Heitlinger said participating in the program âdoesnât mean you have to work exclusively with Verizon.âAs for whether these startups are then teed up for additional funding from Verizon Ventures, he said, âWe wouldnât say no, we wouldnât say yes. â¦ If we feel that thereâs a particular company thatâsÂ well-suited or well-aligned with Verizonâs business, just like any other startup we would invest.â
Verizon has been trying to move deeperÂ into digital media, with initiativesÂ likeÂ its go90 mobile video app, not to mention its acquisition ofÂ AOL (which owns TechCrunch) and the still in-progress Yahoo deal.
The deadline to applyÂ to the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio is May 30, with the program starting on July 31.
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