London has a new VC in town. Officially launching today, having already made a number of investments, is Rooks Nest Ventures. The VC firm is described as an early-stage, evergreen fund targeting tech startups that are innovating in and around content, along with companies creating “highly licensable intellectual property”. Its founder is investor and film producer Michael Sackler, producer of indie hit films like The Witch and Obvious Child. He is also behind film studio Rooks Nest Entertainment.
With £28 million to invest initially, the VC firm has already backed Doodle Productions (creator of the international hit animated series Messy Goes To Okido), Disruptor Beam (creator of popular mobile games such as Game of Thrones Ascent and Star Trek Timelines), PunchDrunk (immersive theatre company), and The Rights Xchange (a digital TV rights marketplace which also includes Sky and Channel 4 as investors).
The broader Rooks Nest Ventures pitch is that, based on its network and industry knowledge, it is well-positioned to “bring innovative media & entertainment companies together with impactful technology businesses”. Though the VC is London-based, it says it will also invest in companies outside of the U.K.
Brief Q&A with Rooks Nest Ventures founder Michael Sackler follows:
What kind of companies are you looking for? e.g. specific areas of tech/sector…
We’re looking for a couple of things. Firstly, media & entertainment companies that are building globally licensable brands — this includes Kids Entertainment, Gaming (particularly mobile) and Sports. Secondly, early stage tech companies which are relevant to content and content creators. That can be deep tech (streaming technology), hardware (VR, motion capture etc), and software (platforms, industry-specific SaaS)
What stage, size of cheque are they planning to write?
Up to £400,000 at Seed, and up to £1 million at Series A. Can follow on through to Series C.
Who are the fund’s LPs?
It is a single LP structure, with myself as the sole LP. This has allowed us to get going very quickly, whilst being completely aligned with our portfolio companies – we are looking to help our companies with their long term health, and not looking to force through decisions in the pursuit of the quickest exit possible.
Why would a startup choose Rooks Nest?
Our depth of experience in both media & entertainment, and technology is our big point of difference. Having run a successful entertainment production and finance company that made consistently successful films in a difficult climate I know what it takes to develop, execute and finance a commercially viable creative project. We plan to make the most of this experience in ways people wouldn’t typically expect from venture capitalists.
Similarly, my team and I have been actively involved in the tech ecosystem for a number of years as investors, board members and founders. We know the industry well, have worked with some incredible people, and understand what it takes to get a startup off the ground and truly flying. We consider ourselves to be a very active bridge between media & entertainment and tech; industries that are completely synergistic but very often don’t talk to each other in the engaged way that they should be.