By Richard Grant, Senior Associate
Hello! Since this is my first blog post at Comcast Ventures, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and tell you a bit about why I’m here and what I do.
I joined Comcast Ventures about 15 months ago after spending the first 10 years of my career in Strategic Planning/Business Development (Comcast Interactive Media, Sony Pictures) and Professional Services (Lehman Brothers Investment Banking). So how did I make the transition to venture capital? Good question. And one not easily answered. Obviously, there is a little bit (maybe a lot) of luck involved. Venture Capital is a small fraternity so being at the right place at the right time has a lot to do with it. But I subscribe to the belief/theory that: “Luck is at the intersection of preparation and opportunity.” The opportunity presented itself and I was ready to make the move.
Investing isn’t something you wake up one morning and decide to do. I’ve thought about moving to the investment side for many years and even came dangerously close to accepting a couple of private equity jobs in 2004. I didn’t take those positions for a number of reasons, both personally and professionally but suffice it to say that I’ve been interested in and intrigued by the potential of becoming a professional investor for a long time. And while I spent the first part of my career doing other things, I feel that the skills I built up, the relationships I forged and the appreciation that I developed for operations, product, engineering, marketing/sales and finance through my previous operating roles have prepared me for venture investing and provided me with enormous context for how a company is built, operates and ultimately succeeds.
I also firmly believe that venture investing and entrepreneurship are in my blood. My grandfather, father and multiple uncles are all entrepreneurs and angel investors. They’ve started and run businesses ranging from liquor stores to healthcare consulting companies. And while I’m not starting a business myself, I have tremendous respect and appreciation for those who are starting businesses, and I’m excited by the prospect of working with these entrepreneurs to realize their vision. That’s really why this job is so awesome.
Given my background in media and entertainment (Sony Pictures, Comcast Interactive Media) and my passion for it (I’m a TV and sports junkie), I tend to focus on consumer businesses such as media and commerce. I’ve also been working very closely with David Horowitz here at Comcast Ventures around launching an investment platform in the education vertical. While it may not be immediately obvious, we strongly believe that there is a convergence occurring between education and entertainment. Many education-focused businesses – particularly those that have direct-to-consumer offerings – look a lot like media businesses, which consist of content aggregation/development, delivery of content to multiple platforms, marketing to/acquiring users. And having a lot of personal exposure to and passion for education (nearly everyone in my wife’s family is a teacher or school administrator), I am really excited to be investing in the sector. Stay tuned!