The top 25: Amy Banse, Comcast Ventures
Amy Banse has headed Comcast Ventures, where she is a managing director and head of funds, since mid-2011. This dates back to Comcast’s corporate venturing unit merger with NBC’s Peacock Fund, creating a $750m vehicle.
It has been an active fund, with mass media company Comcast listing more than 100 portfolio companies on its website, split between advertising, consumer, enterprise and infrastructure sectors. Since January, Comcast has backed smart-home technology developer August Home’s $17m round, returned for student loan provider College Ave’s $30m series D round, reportedly led a funding round for the adaptive wifi technology provider Plume, led a $15m series A round for lunch subscription service MealPal, joined a round for employment comparison tools Comparably, and backed smart mattress developer Eight’s $5m round. Petco’s purchase of petcare services platform PetCoach for an undisclosed sum, providing an exit to Comcast and Pet360.
One of her biggest moves was hiring Kai Bond from Samsung Accelerator as principal, a role in which he will also head Comcast’s Catalyst Fund.
The company has announced a startup assistance plan called Lift – Leveraging Innovation For Tomorrow – Labs for Entrepreneurs.
Banse previously founded Comcast Interactive Media in 2005 and led the company’s online strategy over the next six years, overseeing various acquisitions and in-house projects, including Comcast.net, Xfinity.com, Fancast and Swirl. She joined Comcast in 1991 as an in-house attorney for programming acquisition. She worked on the development of Comcast’s cable network portfolio, including the company’s investments in E! Entertainment Television and the Golf Channel. She has a degree from Harvard University and studied at Temple University’s James E Beasley School of Law after following in her father’s footsteps – he was general counsel for Merck.
Separately, in the past year, Comcast has committed $4bn over 10 years to a new investment firm being set up by the US cable operator’s chief financial officer, Michael Angelakis, who has stepped down from his current position but remains a senior adviser to Comcast even as his new group, Atairos, began operations this year with group buying company Groupon as its first deal last May with a $250m investment.
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