Make no mistake about it, telephone companies see themselves becoming more and more players in media, not just connecting people who want to talk to each other. AT&T, which is already building out a broadband competitor to cable operators, has signed up with some key players in Silicon Valley to invest in digital media startups.
In addition to AT&T, the consortium includes the William Morris Agency (WMA) and leading Silicon Valley venture capital firms Accel Partners and Venrock. Accel, WMA and Venrock will form a Joint Fund that will focus on discovering, funding and building small, high-impact companies focused on innovation in the consumer media technology arena. AT&T will participate in selected investment opportunities with the Joint Fund as a Limited Participant. The Joint Fund will be managed by Los Angeles-area angel investor Richard Wolpert, who has previously served as president of Disney Online and chief strategy officer of RealNetworks.
“AT&T is focused on driving innovation that enables people to do more and get more from their connectivity. We are excited about working with this venture to accelerate the pace of innovation so that consumers can benefit from next-generation services and capabilities,” said Susan Johnson, Sr. Vice President of Business Development for AT&T.