Havas launches venture capital offering

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 20 September 2016

Integrated creative and media shop Havas Melbourne has launched a venture capital offering called Havas Ventures.

The new arm of the business is offering strategic and technological expertise to early stage growth ventures. These include services-for-equity or straight capital investment into businesses which have already been through at least one round of significant venture capital funding.

Havas Ventures offers four distinct service lines: strategic consultancy, marketing and communications, capital investment and global network. Havas says there is no other advertising agency or Venture Capital firm offering this four-pillared strategy

It is being run by former investment director for private equity firm CVC Group Eddie Wilson and will also be overseen by Havas Melbourne's group MD Matt Houltham. Houltham joined the agency in February from Naked in New York.

"Some nine out of ten new ventures fail. We also know that considered marketing is so often the key differentiator between success or failure of a business. After two years in the making, I'm thrilled to finally announce to the market that we have an offering that will help close this gap in a meaningful and productive way," Wilson says.

The new offering for the agency comes eight months after the Melbourne shop integrated its creative, media and digital offerings under one roof and operating on a single P&L.

Havas Ventures has already dipped its toes into the space, with the new business getting involved in a multiplayer trivia app, QuizJam, as well as a fellow startup SalesPreso. Speaking with The AFR, Wilson says there's no specific amount of money that the agency has earmarked to invest, adding that he was "not worried" about securing up to $5 million for an early-stage growth company.

The AFR says that one of the criteria for Havas Ventures when deciding who to back was if the business could potentially turn into a full-service client of the agency down the line. Other criteria is that businesses must have, is a finished product as well as a customer base are using it. 

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