Bloomberg LP

Bloomberg forms $75 million VC fund

June 5, 2013: 9:55 AM ET

terminalBloomberg Beta will back big data and "workday improvement" companies.

FORTUNE -- Bloomberg LP announced this morning that it has formed a $75 million early-stage venture capital fund called Bloomberg Beta. Its initial focus areas are "producing insights from data and making the experience of work better."

The initial portfolio includes Newsle, MkII, Nodejitsu, Codecademy, Errplane and ProsperWorks. Notice the lack of financial services and pure content in there (Bloomberg already makes synergistic investments via an existing platform called Bloomberg Ventures).

As for structure, consider Bloomberg Beta to be a relatively independent fund in which Bloomberg serves as sole LP – with a newly-hired team that makes its own investment decisions for the purpose of financial returns. In other words, not a traditional corporate VC. A decent comp may be the early days of Google Ventures (GOOG), although obviously there are several differences (or perhaps In-Q-Tel given Bloomberg's recent bout of snooping...).

The fund is being led by Roy Bahat, who previously spent five years running IGN Entertainment for News Corp. (NWS). He left last summer after spinout plans got bogged down, and had been planning to launch a startup in the education tech space. But he says that the Bloomberg offer was too good to pass up.

"I was full-on ready to do a startup, but the Bloomberg guys approached me because they wanted more visibility into the world of startups," Bahat explains. "For me, I think the distinction between entrepreneur and investor has become a bit blurry with things like Betaworks and what Ev Williams has done with Obvious, and I have a bunch of ideas about how to operate in the space… But, no, I had not given any thoughts to forming a VC firm or joining one before Bloomberg came calling."

Bahat's two partners are Karin Klein, ex-head of new initiatives at Bloomberg and a former VC with Softbank; and James Cham, previously with Trinity Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners.

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