November 30, 2020
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first_imgMany of Comcast Ventures’ best performing investments through the years have been strategic in nature, including CTI Towers, which Melody Investment Advisors acquired earlier this month, said the people. It has become increasingly difficult to compete for targets as more funds, such as SoftBank‘s Vision Fund, General Atlantic and Insight Venture Partners, raise tens of billions of dollars for startups. The last two years have both been record setting in terms of venture dollars invested in U.S. companies, according to The National Venture Capital Association.Refocusing Comcast Ventures on companies that support broadband distribution and streaming video could help Comcast stay ahead of trends while being more disciplined on investments the company understands best.Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.WATCH: Venture capitalist Bob Davis weighs in on Big Tech regulation and the future of VC Amy Banse, the head of funds for Comcast Ventures, announced her retirement in September. Dave Zilberman, a 15-year Comcast Ventures veteran, said this week he was leaving for Norwest Venture Partners .When Banse announced her departure, Comcast said CFO Michael Cavanaugh would take over leadership of Comcast Ventures. In the past two months, Cavanaugh and former Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis, who now runs the private investment firm Atairos with capital from Comcast, reviewed the fund’s strategy and decided it’s a better fit within Schwartz’s business development unit, one of the people said.Schwartz was one of the founding partners of Comcast Ventures more than 20 years ago. He will decide if Comcast is better served acquiring companies or making seed, venture or later-stage investments. Comcast will continue to support the existing Comcast Ventures portfolio.- Advertisement – Comcast Ventures, the corporate venture capital firm, is folding into Comcast‘s business development division and shifting its strategy to focus only on strategic investments.Partners were informed of the change this week, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private. While Comcast Ventures will continue to operate under Comcast chief business development officer Sam Schwartz, it will no longer invest in a broad array of companies, instead focusing only on startups that can support Comcast initiatives. That change, combined with the fund’s decreased independence from Comcast, will likely lead to a number of partner defections, the people said.“Comcast Ventures has been a valuable innovation pipeline, providing insight into adjacent industries and investment opportunities” a spokesperson told CNBC. “We are aligning our approach to venture investing more closely with our business units and repositioning Comcast Ventures under the strategic business development team at Comcast Cable.  Our business development teams across the company continue to invest in new technology and businesses, which we believe will yield more strategic opportunities and benefits for Comcast and the companies in which we invest.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of ComcastDavid A. Grogan | CNBC – Advertisement –last_img read more

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first_imgGREENSBORO, N.C. — Amy Ketterman made a deal with her son Braxton so the duo could attend the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Braxton, 11, grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina with his mom and loved Florida State. He always had since he watched FSU’s mascot duo of Osceola and Renegade for the first time. But anxiety had kept him out of class recently, Ketterman, 46, said. So, she presented Braxton an opportunity: Attend school for three days and he’d earn tickets to every ACC tournament game. He eagerly waited to find out FSU’s opponent but readied for Wednesday night’s contest between North Carolina and Syracuse in the meantime. But as they entered the Greensboro Coliseum around 7:45 p.m., Ketterman noticed a news alert. The ACC would prevent fans from attending games starting March 12. The Seminoles were slated to play their first game at 9 p.m. on the 12th. Braxton found solace in a cup of chocolate Dippin’ Dots. The most recent restriction amid the coronavirus pandemic stormed through the arena when an ACC spokesperson sent a press release at 7:58 p.m., limiting upcoming tournament games to just “essential staff and limited family attendance.” More restrictions built on the NCAA’s late afternoon one that prohibited fans from attending NCAA Tournament games. President Donald Trump barred European flights for 30 days. The NBA suspended its season. Greensboro — a self-branded “Tournament Town” — quickly resembled every other city in America hosting a conference tournament: Enhanced safety measures, extra Centers for Disease Control advisory postings and more hand sanitizer stations.  AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLoading…Reactions trickled through the concourse, varying from concerned to anger. Confusion reigned above all else. Fans brought up their phones texting, calling and scrambling for what to do next. “We’re outta business,” Dan Smith, a Miami fan, said to his friend Maxine Cooper. “If you wanna know the truth, I’m pissed.” Preparation started on March 10th. Workers from Staffing Logistics, a local temp agency, arrived at the Coliseum around 5 p.m. when a supervisor directed them to refill hand sanitizer receptacles lining the concourse. They carried boxes and emptied jugs into each one, finishing about an hour into Pittsburgh and Wake Forest’s first round matchup. Some workers tasked with wiping down common surfaces during Wednesday’s game didn’t know about the ACC’s ruling as Notre Dame beat Boston College. One carried extra gloves in his back pocket. North Carolina has eight reported coronavirus cases, Governor Roy Moore announced earlier in the day, but none in Guilford County as of Wednesday. Some workers immediately worried about their paychecks.“If there are no fans here, we won’t be here. The players don’t eat,” one worker said. “… If we can’t come in, I’m pretty sure that messes up our money.”MORE COVERAGE: NCAA cancels all postseason championship events in response to coronavirusA look the chaotic 2 hours that led to end of ACC tournamentACC cancels men’s basketball tournament amid spread of coronavirusInside the confusion at the ACC tournament amid coronavirus restrictionsACC suspends spring sports amid coronavirusFans shared similar concerns and checked on hotel or flight cancellations. Smith, 79, flew to the event from Tucson, Arizona. Cooper, 83, drove from her home in Jacksonville, Florida. Cooper, a UM-alum, said she and Smith attended eight of the last nine ACC tournaments. They booked a room in the TownePlace Suites until Sunday but hope for refunds from the games they’d miss.“If we had known earlier, we could’ve checked out,” Cooper said. “…We were here to see basketball.” So was Will Louis, 53, a North Carolina fan that had waited for four years to see the ACC gauntlet return to his hometown. Earlier in the day, he had heard the NCAA’s ruling to play Tournament games with no fans and grew upset about his void tickets to the first round of the Big Dance. He, too, had questions about reimbursement, but there was no one to answer them. The unease leaked into the gameday operations. As Syracuse and North Carolina left the court at halftime, ACC officials jogged on with disinfectant wipes, scrubbing down chairs. When a halftime game led to young children sitting on the black leather cushions on SU’s bench, another official walked over. “Wipe them all down again,” she said. “They sat in one but they touched two (each).”Bert Settla, a retired healthcare worker from Chicago, expected the conference’s decision. A Louisville fan, he flew in on Tuesday afternoon, constantly checking developments on the ACC’s website on ESPN. During the commute, he said a man behind him coughed without covering his mouth, causing Settla, 64, to move to another seat on the “half-full” flight. In the concourse as SU and UNC prepped, Settla rubbed some hand sanitizer onto his hands from the travel-size bottle he keeps in his pocket. He envisioned his night ending with a call to United Airlines to book a new flight. A few feet away from him, two fans recognized each other. They extended their arms but bumped elbows as their greeting. Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 12, 2020 at 7:47 am Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarezcenter_img Commentslast_img read more

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