Is Your Media Business Ready for Professional Investors?

is your media business ready for professional investors media c-suite

For media entrepreneurs eager to go pro, there is no greater obstacle than lack of capital.  The Media C-Suite offers some advice, and a few investors, to help jump those hurdles. 

It really doesn’t matter whether you are a film-maker, a Web3 startup or a video games publisher, without capital to manage that long-runway and the burn-rates that never stop rising, there is little hope of hitting the commercial stratosphere as a media business.  Capital is the common denominator for all commercial enterprise.  It is the one necessary ingredient for productive operations effective enough to bring in sales of necessary volume to achieve gross revenues that cover total expenditure before everyone goes broke.  There must be a method to its application and motive for its use. 

Put simply, it takes money to make money.

But not all money is created equal, as the Media C-Suite likes to say.  Friends and family can provide only so much cash (for most mortal entrepreneurs, anyway).  The dream sold, of course, is that profits will provide what future capital is needed … someday.  But to get from here to there, one needs more money than ever first imagined. 

For business owners who want to build professional capabilities and professional capacity for growth, what is needed are Professional Investors.

This article is relevant to who Professional Investors are:

Where the Money? Private Family Offices

Where’s the Money?: The Rise of Private Family Offices

Wealthy families around the world are rapidly becoming a major force within venture and private equity investing in Media & Entertainment. 

Unlike friends and family, you can’t argue money out of a Venture Capital fund.  Private Equity firms are not interested in how much you care about them.  A Chief Investment Officer at a private family office is not going to let guilt about a forgotten birthday card persuade her to write a cheque. 

Professional Investors make it their business to disregard the dream.  It is the method they are interested in.  They want to understand the mechanics of how a team can convert capital into revenues and back into capital again, and then again.  What is the business model?  Where is the market?  Who is willing to pay and for what, exactly?

This article is relevant to building a network of Professional Investors:

Degrees of Separation

Bacon’s Law: Finding Professional Investors

Professional investors provide more value than the money they invest.  So, how do entrepreneurs in the creative industries find them?

The business of investing professionally takes a lot of money.  Professional Investors tend to spend money to understand if an investment will make money.  They do their research and learn from mistakes.  Do enough of that over time and the experienced Professional Investor will know what industries are offering opportunity for entrepreneurs to generate a compelling return on investment.  Few industries offer as much opportunity as the Media & Entertainment industry.

But this industry comes with a reputation for risk and poorly managed businesses.  Professional Investors manage risk by not wasting time on the unprepared.  First impressions matter in this regard.

So if you think you are ready, then you need to prepare just a little bit more.  Professional Investors want to see the result of preparation more than anything else. 

Minimum Requirements 

A company. 

99.999% of Professional Investors will neither send money to your personal bank account nor hand you cash.  If you ask them to, they will laugh or get very frustrated.  If they offer to, please, run away screaming and hope they don’t chase you.

Professional Investors expect any professionally operated business to be owned by a corporate entity of some kind.  There are many reasons for this.  Do the research and learn the reasons why.  It is important for investors to know that you understand those reasons.  Take advice from lawyers and accountants if you can.

A business plan. 

Writing a business plan is a necessary step in preparing for Professional Investors.  They will want to see it.  A business plan forces you to put thought into the corporate, commercial and capital strategies needed to purposefully grow your business.  It is the growth in your business that investors want to be part of.

At a minimum, the business plan should explain who and what your company is.  The corporate details are important because this is how investors join and align their interests in your business.  Include the names and bios of the management team that makes the business decisions and actively works toward generating those all important revenues.  It is important for investors to know that your management team knows what they are doing.

How those revenues are generated is just as important.  The business model needs to be explained, including how much it costs to operate.  That business model is the engine for your financial plans and forecasts.  Budget five years ahead based on the operational strategies you are applying.  Then generate financial statements for each of those five years as forecasts.  This will give you and the investors a clear picture of what capital is needed for your strategy to succeed, and when profits can be expected.

Based on your business plan, you will know how much capital your business needs and when it needs the money.  You will also have the facts and figures to work out how much of the Company’s equity can be sold to investors in exchange for that capital.  Too much and there will be too little remaining to incentivise the founders and management team, too little and investors will have less interest (literally). 

Business Plan on ChalkBoard
Image credit: TLFurrer; Getty Images.

It is a good idea to take some advice on how much of your company to offer and for how much money.  Accountants and lawyers can help.  Financial advisers can help.  There is a lot of information available on-line.  Do the research.  When you have a good idea on what an investor will receive in exchange for money, then you have a proposal to offer.

An Investment Proposal.

Professional Investors are approached for a reason.  They know why.  When you are ready, make the connection and get to it straight away. 

Your proposal can be as simple as you want to make it.  Sometimes that helps.  But there are standard practices to be prepared for.

Investment proposals often take the form of pitch decks.  These are relatively standard presentations, often built on Microsoft PowerPoint slides.  Alternatively, an investment memorandum or shorter briefing document can be presented.  Each are acceptable.  If an investor prefers one over the other, they will say so and give you time to produce it (though it is wise to have them prepared in advance).

What is expected is a short description of your company, its business model and its management team.  A description of your commercial market and what makes your company distinctive within that market.  Here you want to persuade based on what you and your management team bring to the table.  If you solve a particular problem, this is where you explain what that is and how you do it.  Finally, you will want to provide your financial data and how it translates into growth in shareholder value over time. 

You may find this related article of interest.

The Demographics of Media's Future

Professional Investors Eager to Call “Action!” on Media & Entertainment

Less than two decades ago, Netflix changed the Media & Entertainment industry forever while the CEOs of the Media Majors were sleeping at their desks.  Are we about to watch a similar disruption unfold?  Professional Investors seem to think so.

There are a number of key metrics that Professional Investors like to see.  A discounted cashflow analysis is one of them.  Learn how to calculate Return on Investment and other key performance indicators.  Do the research.  There is a lot of valuable information available on-line to help you prepare.  Again, your accountants and lawyers can help you a lot.

Practice Your Pitch

Establishing rapport with Professional Investors takes practice.  They have a vocabulary all their own and don’t necessarily understand the jargon and references common to Media & Entertainment.  Many will have a pre-conceived idea about media entrepreneurs and the reputation for risk that this industry has earned.  Be clear and straight and to the point. 

No two investors are alike.  Some will simply not get it.  Move on.  For those that want to get it, questions will start.  That’s good.  Again, some will not get there.  For them, no answer will be sufficient.  Keep them engaged until they say no.  Get other discussions underway.

Do not try to create a bidding situation.  Professional Investors don’t succumb to pressure of any kind.  If they want in, they will say so.  Two Professional Investors are better than one in any case.  The key to success in pitching to Professional Investors is to learn from failure.  It is never personal.  Speak with as many as possible.  Take the negatives and learn from them. 

Remember always, you are pitching a deal.  That means something that works for both you and your investors.  Compromise, negotiate in good faith and treat them as your next partner.  That’s how they see themselves.

Let’s Get You Started

Here’s a list of Professional Investors that have a stated interest in providing capital to growing media companies.  These range from very large asset management firms to smaller VC houses.  We provide publicly available information in this article, so you are not alone in your approach.  Each investor invites proposals for seed stage investments or later. 

It is a good idea to study their websites and LinkedIn profiles.  You can find others to approach if these are unsuited or if something pulls you elsewhere.  Remember Bacon’s Law and try to discover a direct connection if you can and build your own network.  You can make an approach directly to each of the firms below through their main phone number or general email address without being introduced.   Simply explain why you are calling or messaging, and someone will respond.  Several have options for submitting proposals directly through their own portals.  Most have offices in other cities and countries and provide contact details for them. Look for a location closer to you.

General note: firms in the US tend to be more abrupt and can be less accommodating.  Charm and persistence pays off.

We provide three with primary offices in Switzerland, three from the UK and three from the US to get you started.  We are working on our list of Professional Investors based in Asia.

Three Professional Investors in Switzerland

Alpana Ventures
Location: Geneva
Ticket Size: US$0 – 1 m
Regional Focus: Europe and North America
Main Phone: +41 22 412 20 50
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

Creathor Ventures
Location: Zurich
Ticket Size: US$1 – 5 m
Regional Focus: Europe
Main Phone: +41 44 271 13 58
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

ACE & Company
Location: Geneva
Ticket Size: US$1 – 5 m
Regional Focus: Europe & North America
Main Phone: +44 22 311 33 33
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

Three Professional Investors in the United Kingdom

Mercia Asset Management
Location: Henley-in-Arden
Ticket Size: US$1 – 5 m
Regional Focus: UK Only
Main Phone: +44 33 0223 1430
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

Location: London
Ticket Size: US$1 – 5 m
Regional Focus: UK & Europe
Main Phone: +44 20 3352 2213
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

First Minute Capital
Location: London
Ticket Size: US$1 – 5 m
Regional Focus: UK, Europe & North America
Main Phone: +44 20 3905 5845
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

Three Professional Investors in the United States

RSE Ventures
Location: New York City
Ticket Size: US$0 – 5 m
Regional Focus: US
Main Phone: +1 212 541 2429
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

Domain Capital
Location: Atlanta
Ticket Size: US$1 – 50
Regional Focus: US
Main Phone: +1 770 628 0700
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

IDG Capital
Location: New York City
Ticket Size: US$1 – 100 m
Regional Focus: Global (with an eye on China)
Main Phone: +1 212 337 5200
General Email:
LinkedIn Profile:

Good Hunting!


  1. Finally an article with real useable detail even if it is in the public domain already. if the Media C Suite can do the hard work to identify these opportunities, then please keep doing this.

    Hope to see more of these useful articles

  2. Actually, we have already reached out to two of these. They were both receptive to the cold call. Early days, but this article was good for us!

    We second the motion! More, please.

  3. No one commented on this yet?

    Where to you find this kind of information? I see that the list is all public info, but that is probably all the Media C-Suite can safely publish.

    I would like to see more of this!

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