The mass media firms committed to Mercurius Media Capital’s new media-for-equity initiative, which is aiming to double its size by next year.

Piyush Puri

Piyush Puri, founding partner, Mercurius Media Capital. Image courtesy of Mercurius.

Mass media groups Sinclair and TelevisaUnivision have committed $50m to a media-for-equity fund formed by US venture capital firm Mercurius Media Capital, Axios reported on Wednesday.

Founded in 2023, Mercurius Media Capital is a venture fund that invests in US media startups. The latest fund has yet to reach a final closing, and Mercurius is seeking additional media partners to raise over $100m by 2025.

Through this mechanism, Sinclair and TelevisaUnivision will provide startups with advertising services over five years, rather than cash.

Because it is an advert-based investment scheme, the fund will target consumer-facing startups in gaming, healthcare and lifestyle sectors.

“Our investment thesis is also dictated by who are the media partners that [they] currently have on board, because you want to make sure you’re not making a forced fit of finding a really good startup but then trying to apply to a media company that really won’t have the consumers for that,” Mercurius founding partner Piyush Puri (pictured) told Axios.

This investment practice is more common in Europe than in the US. Ad4Ventures, Channel 4 Ventures and SevenVentures, part of media firms Mediaset, Channel 4 and ProSiebenSat.1, respectively, are among the CVC groups that provide media capital, as is football club FC Barcelona’s Barça Innovation Hub.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.