According to The Wall Street Journal, marketing and advertising firms are making direct investments through venture investment arms, using their advertising expertise as a selling point in order to get a piece of fast-growing start-ups.
Among the firms that have emerged as investors include established New York agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, cross-town upstart Consigliere, and Rogers, Ark.-based digital marketer Rockfish Interactive.
“If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re building a consumer-facing brand and you have a choice between taking money from someone who understands your brand and someone who wants to just write you a check, I’d take money from a marketer,” said Phin Barnes, a principal at First Round Capital.
Clearly, agencies are looking for better long-term revenue models. Investing up front with a mix of cash and sweat equity is a good idea in my book. Great work is born from solid relationships, and there’s no better way to build relationships than to share in the heavy lifting.