New York -- Classic Sports Network cofounders Brian Bedol
and Stephen Greenberg are back together, forming an investment company to back
Bedol and Greenberg plan to take the wraps off of their new
business, Fusient Media Ventures, this week. The pair said they raised $30 million from
venture-capital firms in Fusient's first round of financing.
"It is our belief that content will become as
important to the Internet as programming is to television," Bedol said, calling
Fusient a "content incubator."
Fusient's target market is the top 50 portals and Web sites
on the Internet, he added.
One source said Fusient has deals in place with America
Online Inc. and DirecTV Inc.
Greenberg is Fusient's chairman and Bedol is its president
and CEO. Former Warner Bros. executive vice president of theatrical production Tom
Lassally is the venture's West Coast president.
Bedol said Fusient has recruited other veteran media
executives, but he wasn't ready to name all of them since some are in the process of
leaving other jobs. Fusient will start with 10 employees and eventually grow to a central
staff of 20 to 25, he added.
Bedol said Fusient aspires to be compared to such
investment companies as Liberty Digital. But he added that Fusient is doing more than just
investing money in Internet start-ups, describing the company as "Idea Labs meets
Liberty Media [Group]."
Fusient has 15,000 square feet of office space in both New
York and Los Angeles. The company plans to house many of the start-ups it will fund and
offer them distribution, sales, legal, accounting and marketing services, he said.
In addition to the potential revenues it will generate with
minority stakes in the content companies, Bedol said, Fusient will receive cash or equity
stakes from the companies it backs for selling their product to Web sites.
Fusient already has six properties in "active stages
of development," he added, declining to name the companies.
But Bedol said the list of companies he and Greenberg have
invested in during the past year outside of Fusient should offer an idea of the types of
companies it is interested in. Those investments include minority stakes in online
sports-content provider Broadband Sports, online gaming company Gamesville.com, Internet
content-delivery company Akamai Technologies Inc. and online music seller Tunes.com Inc.
"We're focused on games, teen- and kids-oriented
properties, music and sports," he added.
Bedol said Fusient will invest less than $5 million in each
company. "We're looking for companies that are going to increase dramatically in
their values -- anything from 25 times and up," he added.
Venture-capital firm Redpoint Ventures was the biggest
initial investor and the company's general partner, Geoff Yang, will sit on the Fusient
board. Additional Fusient investors include Allen & Co., Waterview Partners, Grotech
Capital Group, Berkshire Partners and Monitor Clipper Partners.