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Media Buying Briefing: What sort of VC vet hunts for tech startups with Martin Sorrells backing

Sanja Partalo is not any stranger to cutting deals and wanting to outsmart investments for agencies. The former head of strategic development and partnerships at WPP caused both Sir Martin Sorrell and current CEO Mark Read until last November, before launching her very own capital raising firm, S4S Ventures, in January.

Sounds a little like S4, Sorrells no-longer-new agency holding company, right? Theres an indirect connection, acknowledged Partalo, as Sorrell is 1 of 2 principal partners dealing with her to develop the VCs a lot more than $100 million investment fund, alongside Daniel Pinto of Stanhope Capital. Partalo said S4S isnt an arm of S4, but works with several S4s executives not exclusively, as shes ready to use any tech platform or agency holding company.

Focusing on investments in the ad-tech and mar-tech spaces shes quite acquainted with from her time trying to find partnerships at WPP, Partalo hasnt wasted time searching for opportunities. Although she declined to mention her first investment, Partalo said she’s closed one deal and is near closing two more, in applied artificial intelligence and mar-tech. She said she believes that given that the media world has been optimized to the hilt, this content world is next up, given the simple usage of technology like artificial intelligence.

Digidays interview with Partalo has been edited for space and clarity.

How did S4S Ventures happen?

I did so lots of venture investing while at WPP, also it was the best section of the job being able to take into account the future, and where in fact the disruption would come from for the industry. Where there was probably the most energy and vibrancy tended to be smaller companies. The truth that sometimes they didnt result from the world meant that they had visions which were very compelling since they werent encumbered by legacy thinking.

In the event that you go through the numbers, only 2% of VC funds are led by women. I had no illusions that it might be super easy to construct. So when the chance presented itself with Martin and Daniel, it had been an ideal setup from an expertise standpoint, from an event standpoint, and obviously from the alignment with S4 Capital.

How can you use S4 Capital?

Because Sir Martin sits on the investment committee and contains personally invested in to the fund as have several directors at S4 Capital we’ve operational alignment with the business enterprise. At S4S, we realize the sectors that people all collectively worked in. What startups want is usage of people that can play making use of their technology, who is able to utilize the technology, or provide them with insights on whether something is made the proper way or priced the correct way. Just how do they [S4 executives] believe product stacks against the competitive set? Theres lots of real-world signal [S4S can deliver] that’s very helpful to early-stage companies because they consider developing their products for the wider advertising ecosystem.

What type of companies are you currently targeting for investment or acquisition?

Were hoping to back another generation of leaders across mar-tech and ad-tech. We have been searching for technology-enabled companies not service businesses or agencies. But theres yet another pillar, that is content companies because we’ve lots of experience in backing those. The media ecosystem is continually going right through change, particularly with Gen Z at the moment hitting that age point where they’re creating a meaningful mark on defining what new entertainment and media platforms appear to be for them. So were still in the first stages of determining that are those companies which are capturing their attention.

To Gen Z, content does look different once you see YouTube star Mr. Beast open a brick-and-mortar restaurant and have 10,000 fans descend onto it on the initial day. What can you label of that?

Its an excellent example because how would the categorize whats happening there? Hes a creator if we use industry jargon, that i personally feel doesnt go far enough. Which means the creator economy is alive and well. He creates their own product, he monetizes his whole product, hes a brandname, hes an advertising channel. It defies the buckets which were familiar with.

I believe thats whats really exciting concerning this instant because Gen Z and the newer variety of companies and creators as brands the eye theyre capturing are business models that defy any structure that people would have observed in the final 10 years. Its about people and companies that can build communities thats the underpinning of most of the.

So can you visit a democratization of content and technology happening?

Another stage of democratization of content development and influence building will probably be easier as the creative technology tools are receiving better by the next. So whether youre discussing open AI or generative art or generative text, or whether its synthetic humans were still in the first stages of most that. You can find already technologies that will make content development a lot less costly, and a lot less demanding from the technical and skills perspective. All that implies that therell become more opportunities for the common human to build up content, to become more creative. Everything concerning the content development industry if you ask me seems very ripe for disruption.

Color by numbers

Apparently, if youre no longer working for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Disney+, you may have a self-esteem problem. Kaltura, a self-described video experience cloud, surveyed 200 streaming executives about consumer habits and technological advances and their findings in OPT FOR the Stream, werent hugely confidence-inspiring. Some stats:

  • Kaltura cites other research noting you can find a lot more than 5,300 streaming services worldwide.
  • When asked how they rate their services quality of experience and features from the consumer perspective, most executives said their services are good (43%) or acceptable (33%).
  • Only 20% of executives believed their service to be as effective as global streaming giants like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.
  • 64% of respondents intend to enhance their user experience within the next 3 years, with 32% likely to do so this season.
  • Only 25% of respondents claimed a fantastic knowledge of their audience and 47% acknowledged their understanding is bound.

Takeoff & landing

  • Independent Crossmedia retained global media AOR duties for Etihad Airways following a review and can handle the account out of its London and Dsseldorf, Germany offices. Crossmedia has handled media for the airline since 2019.
  • Havas Media Group landed global media responsibilities for clothing licensor Wolverine Worldwide (which include such brands as Saucony, Sperry, Merrell and Keds) carrying out a review that sought to consolidate brand spend under one roof.
  • Omnicom Media Group retained SC Johnsons media business carrying out a review. The CPGgiant includes such brands as Windex, Raid and Glade.

Direct quote

Its very plausible that Apple is seeking to create a mobile web-based DSP to serve the event of lock-screen advertising. If this does happen, it’ll definitely impact user perception of privacy and the Apple Experience all together, considering a locked phone screen is among the few places where users are not inundated with advertisements. Ultimately, Apple is probable making some serious internal decisions on where they are able to serve ads on Apple devices without frustrating the 50%+ of the American population which are iPhone users.

Alexa Kilroy, head of brand at e-commerce firm Triple Whale.

Speed reading

  • Digidays media agency reporter Antoinette Siu examined several ways that artificial intelligence has been put to work to boost on which humans can perform over the agency and brand landscape.
  • Gaming and esports reporter Alexander Lee investigated the growing need for the CFO at gaming companies, the consequence of both economic pressures and a maturing of the business enterprise.
  • Whether you prefer it or not, consumer data privacy legislation gets more seriously considered in Washington each day. Senior marketing and tech reporter Marty Swant dissected the FTCs latest efforts for the reason that field.

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