Media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg is bullish on technology as he raises more money for startup investments. But he is keeping his venture portfolio free from digital media.

Katzenberg, who suffered the high-profile failure of short-form entertainment company Quibi three years ago, has just raised $460 million for investment firm WndrCo, which he started with ex Dropbox Finance Chief Sujay Jaswa

WndrCo started in 2016 as a holding company with capital from private investors. Since then, the firm has managed $1.3 billion in investments in technology companies, including Dapper, Databricks, Gemini, and Robin Hood. The firm has also built businesses such as digital protection companies Aura and Tongate.

Quibi, which Katzenberg founded in 2018, shut down in 2020, just six months after launch, despite raising $1.75 billion from investors. Disney, Comcast NBC Universal and AT&T Warner Media. The service counted just 500,000 subscribers six months after debut after a projection that it would have more than 7 million users within a year.

Katzenberg previously co-founded DreamWorks and served as chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

Now at WndrCo, Katzenberg is cleaning up the media market, telling CNBC that the big platforms are the winners. Rather, the firm is exploring opportunities in cybersecurity, the future of work and consumer technology.

Jaswa said the goal is to find seven venture capital investments and build one or two companies each year. Katzenberg teased his visions for the portfolio: “The moon, the stars,” he said. Longer term, he said he hopes the companies backing the firm “will not only turn out to be a great investment, but actually make the world a better place.”

WndrCo has invested in low-code platform Airtable and payroll and compliance company Deel.

In Twingate, WndrCo is betting on a virtual private network (VPN) alternative. The company was founded by a WndrCo partner and is also backed by Joe Lonsdale’s 8VC. Identity theft protection company Pango is another cybersecurity business backed and built by WndrCo. Jaswa, who serves as Pango’s chair, said the reason for these investments is that so many tech innovations have come without guardrails.

“All kinds of amazing things happened,” Jaswa said. “And yet the other half of that, which is protecting people online, nobody has done anything in that dimension.”

Katzenberg and Jaswa also await checkpoints in artificial intelligence. Technological advances like the Internet and now AI have a price, Katzenberg said.

Katzenberg said “people are concerned” about what the cost will be with AI. “We don’t know. So caution seems appropriate.”

Still, Jaswa is optimistic.

“Major advances in technology are often catalyzed by humans not wanting to do something we have to do,” he said.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

Correction: WndrCo manages $1.3 billion. An earlier version of this article misstated this figure.

Source link