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Four principal investment groups invest in cutting edge media business

A group of prominent principal investment groups together with a corporate venturing arm of a family business have co-invested in a new media group that’s developed an original business model capturing the attention of savvy media investors. 

Laurene Powell Job’s Emerson Collective, together with James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, and the corporate venturing arm of Hubert Burda Media, Burda Principal Investments, and 

Linnea Conrad Roberts’ GingerBread Capital have all invested in WaitWhat. 

The four investors joined Reid Hoffman and four institutional investors in a Series B round worth $12 million for the New York City-based group. Founded four years ago, WaitWhat has launched a series of mostly podcast-led media businesses, including Masters of Scale, hosted by  LinkedIn co-founder Hoffman, and Spark & Fire, a podcast that “celebrates the creativity of the world’s most admired artists, musicians, architects, dancers, photographers, writers and more”.

WaitWhat says it’s a media invention company that develops content “designed around essential human needs – with a contrarian strategy…”

And the media world looks to be taking notice of the group, which has so far attracted $16.3 million in funding. The latest round of investors has brought together some seasoned media entrepreneurs and investors. 

Burda Principal Investments is effectively owned by Hubert Burda, the multi-billionaire owner of the huge publishing group Munich-based Hubert Burda Media. 

Emerson Collective has previously invested in a number of media businesses, including Gimlet Media, later bought by Spotify, OZY Media, and the fast-growing online sports platform, The Athletic. 

But perhaps the most interesting investor in respect to the media world is James Murdoch of News Corporation fame. The son of Rupert Murdoch might be said to have the business of media running through his veins given the role his family’s dynasty has played in that world for three generations. And through his investment office, he has been acquiring stakes in a number of media-type businesses since Lupa Systems was founded in 2019. 

Of course, Lupa is also acquiring stakes in other businesses in different sectors as well. But could James see WaitWhat and other media businesses Lupa has stakes in as the seed of a bigger media group in the years to come? 

 

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