The Top 10: #1 Kim Armor, managing director and chief financial officer, Comcast Ventures
Kim Armor joined Comcast Ventures, mass media group Comcast’s corporate venture capital (CVC) affiliate, in March 2011 and concurrently holds managing director and chief financial officer (CFO) roles.
During Armor’s time at Comcast Ventures, she has participated on boards for wireless tower site operator CTI Towers, media company SheKnows and independent film online streaming platform operator SnagFilms.
Amy Banse, managing director and head of funds of Comcast Ventures, said in her nomination of Armor: “Kim oversees finance, operations, and strategic partnerships. Kim also leads operations and administration, managing the growth of Comcast Ventures’ presence in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“Since she joined in 2011, the firm has invested in more than 130 startups during a period of massive change in the venture industry. Deals have become more competitive and rounds have started earlier – ur seed and series A investments went from 50% of new investments in 2015 to 80% of new investments in 2018.
“Whether it is working with new entrepreneurs or weathering economic ups and downs, last-minute deals and complex transactions, Kim and her team in finance, legal and business development never miss a beat.
“Kim is a leader who adapts to challenges quickly and keeps a steadfast gaze on the horizon to see waves as they form in order to maximise their energy at just the right time. She identified the need to bring a data platform in-house – Comcast Ventures now has a proprietary tool that allows the team to identify and vet investment opportunities.
“In an effort to maximise our relationship with our LP (limited partner), Kim structured a business development role which now enables 70% of our portfolio companies to have a partnership, relationship or touchpoint to the Comcast NBCUniversal and Sky platform.
“Kim is data-driven, pragmatic and creative when it comes to problem-solving and maximising opportunities. She has contributed immensely to our firm’s success while serving as a mentor for entrepreneurs and an advocate for women in leadership.”
Armor said: “It has been an amazing eight-year journey, building this team and systems as we have grown the portfolio to include more than 130 companies under the leadership of head of funds Amy Banse.”
Armor started her career in the 1990s when the dot-com boom gave birth to startups disrupting industries. She said: “In my prior roles at Versus, Disney, ESPN, ABC and KPMG, I saw the impact new data, software and platform companies were having on people and businesses. When the opportunity came up to be part of the engine investing in these startups where I could continue to learn – it made total sense to join Comcast Ventures.
“CVC also plays a different role in the investing ecosystem. We have the unique ability to bring visibility of exciting transformational trends back to Comcast NBCUniversal while leveraging the embedded wisdom and relationships within the company to help our portfolio companies grow.
“In 2009, I was selected to participate in a leadership program at Comcast. One prerequisite was to interview a senior leader at the company and that is when I met Amy Banse. She had a strong reputation at the company and I instantly admired her.
“A year later, as the organisation post-NBCUniversal merger was being developed, the talent lead approached me about the opportunity to join Amy in her new role heading up Comcast Ventures. We were both new to venture. Together we explored how to set up a modern operation, driven by data that would be an innovation look-out for the company. We focused on bringing in top talent and building a collaborative culture. I joined Comcast Ventures for the opportunity to build, to learn and to have a challenging and meaningful career where I could see our investments mature over time.”
Since Armor joined Comcast Ventures in 2011, the unit has contributed to the success of its portfolio companies across multiple sectors and stages. Notable exits include [e-signature platform] DocuSign and [grooming product seller] Dollar Shave Club. Today, 26% of Comcast Ventures’ active and existing portfolio companies have at least one woman co-founder.
“Aside from the measurable successes, I am proud of the team we have built and the industry-leading data-focused processes we have created for dealflow capture. We have built a financially focused CVC arm that moves as fast as private firms and adds value to a company as influential as Comcast NBC Universal.”
The task of swift adaptation remains a priority according to Armor, who said: “My biggest challenge is making sure we are always adjusting and moving forward, driving trends. We have needed to modernise our processes, especially around data collection and analysis to ensure we are making the right decisions, quickly. Venture investing has become incredibly competitive with the line blurring between the role and interests of CVCs and traditional VCs. Comcast Ventures is gaining attention for its ability to help early-stage companies grow, so our team is busier than ever. The pace is fast and the need for change never ends.
“Truthfully, I am challenged with new opportunities every day, so I do not look multiple years out. I know I am making advances in my career daily with each new experience I have with Amy and this team. My next act would package up all my 30 years of experience and be a part of solving some big issues like global warming, inequality, healthcare, balancing the US budget. These sound like lofty goals, but my career thus far in venture has shown me that technology backed by passionate, smart people can achieve anything.”
She was quick to point out, however, that CVC as an industry needs to do a better job talking about the impact it has on innovation. “Champion the stories of how we help startups grow and talk about our startup outcomes – that is our scorecard. Tap company resources and manage the relationships to ensure startup founders and corporate teams work efficiently. CVCs bring unique value to the investing and startup ecosystem. And as we expand, and exit companies – highlight the impact on people, industries and economies. GCV helps shine a light on CVCs and the more we can do together beyond the corporate audience, the more our brands will lift, and the outcomes will be greater.”
Prior to Comcast Ventures, Armor served as CFO and senior vice-president of business development for sports broadcaster Versus, responsible for growing all business metrics and positioning the company for a merger with NBC Sports. She has also held leadership positions at Disney, ESPN and ABC and worked for KPMG in its audit practice.
Armor graduated from Penn State University and received an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. In her spare time, she enjoys working out and travel, mainly on the back of a Harley.
She said: “I am four states shy of reaching my goal to visit 50 states by bike. When I am home from these epic trips, I sort through the photos and create photo books. My kids tease me about this odd hobby – that they view as old-school since their photo memories exist on Instagram – but it is the way I shut down from long days of thinking about data, dollars and metrics.”