26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Andrew Cleland, managing director, Comcast Ventures
Andrew Cleland is managing director at Comcast Ventures, US-headquartered mass media group Comcast’s corporate venture capital (CVC) arm.
The unit is overseen by chief business development officer Sam Schwartz, who also manages mergers and acquisitions. Schwartz was a founding partner of the unit’s predecessor Comcast Interactive Capital (CIC), where he was senior managing partner from its inception in 1999.
CIC joined NBCUniversal and General Electric’s Peacock Equity Fund in 2011 to become Comcast Ventures, a move tied in with the increased union between their parent companies. The unit has had a relatively diverse focus, investing across the consumer, enterprise and frontier technology sectors.
Cleland focuses on data, machine learning and the future of work segments. He sits on the boards of Enigma, FanDuel, Heleo, Hive, Juganu, Lytics, SundaySky and Treno, and led Comcast Ventures’ investment in FortressIQ, Interactions, Osaro and Paramount Data.
He joined Comcast Ventures in 2011 after nearly a decade at media and entertainment conglomerate WarnerMedia, the latter half of his stint was spent at the now-defunct corporate venturing unit, Time Warner Investments, where he targeted early-stage media and technology companies.
Cleland began his career at consulting firm Booz Allen & Hamilton where he was involved in the media practice, before moving to serve as chief operating officer for a UK-based music startup TrustTheDJ. He holds a master’s degree in economics from Edinburgh University and received his MBA from Insead in France.
Comcast Ventures currently has nearly 160 portfolio companies, 10 of which have been funded by its diversity-focused Catalyst Fund. Its more highly valued portfolio companies include social network NextDoor, autonomous driving technology producer Pony.ai, scooter rental service Bird, online home insurer Hippo and luggage brand Away.
Amy Banse, managing director and head of funds for Comcast Ventures, announced in September 2020 her decision to retire, while managing director David Zilberman left to join venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners.
Comcast’s chief financial officer, Michael Cavanagh, took the reins from Banse and, having analysed its activities with Michael Angelakis, a former Comcast CFO who now heads Comcast-backed investment firm Atairos, decided the unit would fit better in the company’s business development division.
A Comcast spokesperson told CNBC: “Comcast Ventures has been a valuable innovation pipeline, providing insight into adjacent industries and investment opportunities.
“We are aligning our approach to venture investing more closely with our business units and repositioning Comcast Ventures and its fund under the strategic business development team at Comcast Cable.
“Our business development teams across the company continue to invest in new technology and businesses, which we believe will yield more strategic opportunities and benefits for Comcast and the companies in which we invest. We will continue to support our existing portfolio companies through investment and strategic partnership.”
Strategic areas of focus would include video streaming and broadband internet technologies, though the tightening of Comcast Ventures’ focus will likely lead to more departures, according to the sources.
Some of the unit’s largest exits in recent years have included digital signature technology provider DocuSign, which has a $38bn market cap; enterprise communication platform Slack, with a $14.7bn market cap; and ride hailing service Lyft, currently valued at $12.6bn.