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Comcast VC Arm Accelerates Blockchain Investing Plan Posted on Feb 13 - 2018

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Comcast Ventures isn't just investing in blockchain startups – it's investing in blockchain startups that invest in blockchain startups, with some very specific goals in mind.

The firm last month joined IBM and Boldstart Ventures in backing accelerator mState, which invests in startups building enterprise blockchain solutions. Further, Comcast Ventures revealed to CoinDesk a recent strategic investment in Blockchange Ventures, a fund that invests in enterprises that have built technology using existing centralized protocols, but that might be in for a decentralized upgrade sometime soon.

The strategy of helping sow as many blockchain seeds as possible by investing in investors is designed to not only generate returns, but to help the venture capital firm's $184 billion parent company accelerate the rate at which it learns about the technology more generally.

To that end, newly appointed managing director Gil Beyda has assembled a team of five of Comcast's most senior investors, all of who are now tasked with planning what he called an "aggressive" investment strategy aimed at determining how the company can benefit from the technology.

"We call ourselves the 'blockchain crew,'" said Beyda, who previously founded adtech startup RealMedia, which was acquired in 2007 for $650 million. The following year, he co-founded seed investing firm Genacast in partnership with Comcast.

He continued, giving CoinDesk an idea of exactly how serious the firm was about its blockchain investments:

"I can write the $1 million dollar checks through Genecast and the $2 million to $20 million checks for multi-stages through Comcast Ventures."

The blockchain crew

At the core of this strategy is the small group of increasingly specialized investors.

While Beyda said he is the only member of the "crew" to dedicate the majority of his time to blockchain, he is joined in his work by Comcast's head of funds, Amy Banse; managing director Sam Landman; principal Teddy Himler; and Morgan Polotan, who also works with Beyda at Genacast.

The team of five meets multiple times a week to discuss trends in blockchain, and to explore how those trends might impact Comcast. Yet, the firm isn't limited to making improvements to Comcast's infrastructure and products, such as its flagship cable and internet services.

"Our mandate is first and foremost to find great investments," said Beyda. "So, we're a financially driven fund, a returns-driven fund." View More


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