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It was only a matter of time before MESA, a NYC-based investment bank focusing on middle-market media deals, launched a fund of its own. Today the bank is announcing MESA+, a new $10 million seed and Series A venture fund aimed at media-focused startups.
The launch is yet another sign that investors are paying attention to NYC’s fast-growing technology community. MESA was founded in 2008 based on boutique banking initiatives — basically, working on smaller, more specialized deals than traditional investment firms.
“We would never go out and raise a traditional fund that competes with sponsors of our core clients,” said Mark Patricof, managing partner at MESA in an interview with VentureBeat. MESA+ is a fund concept that will “connect the dots, but not compete with” top 25 funds, he added.
Staying true to MESA’s boutique focus, the firm chose to stick with a $10 million fund size, even though it could have easily bumped it to $20 to $30 million, Patricof said. The smaller size forces the firm to think more carefully about the startups it’s investing in and allows MESA to spend more individual time helping its portfolio companies.
Other partners in MESA+ include Jacob Brody, MESA’s man on the ground seeking out startup talent, and MESA vice president Andrew Montgomery. (Full disclosure: Brody was also a contributor to VentureBeat prior to joining MESA.)
MESA+ will also serve to connect startups with large media partners, something the firm has been doing for a while now. “Sometimes the startup people don’t understand what media companies are looking for … who will be their internal champion, we can help put those two together,” said Montgomery. Conversely, MESA+ will also serve big corporations by trendspotting startups.
The partners expect MESA+ to invest in 50 to 70 companies with a focus on New York (though they say they’re still considering global investments). The fund’s portfolio currently includes the ad company Bread and image analytics firm TripleLift. MESA+ has invested in seven companies in New York and California together with Google Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and other big firms.
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