Michael Morriatti, A Seasoned Entertainment Executive, Launches His New Technology And Entertainment Venture Firm Called Envisioned Capital
There has been an undeniable increase in celebrities and influencers investing in technology companies. Hollywood and Silicon Valley merge closer to each other year after year, sleek event after sleek event. Michael Morriatti has found himself at the intersection of entertainment and technology as an entertainment executive at WME and a prolific angel investor focused on FinTech. Morriatti has a lot to say about the two worlds with the launch of his new venture capital firm, Envisioned Capital.
Frederic Daso: You’ve spent most of your career as an entertainment executive in Hollywood, working with people like WME. When did you first become interested in technology and entertainment companies?
Miquel Morriatti: I’ve always been fascinated by entertainment and technology since I can remember. I turned on the bright lights of Hollywood, watching the Lakers when I was a kid with my grandfather in the nineties watching all the Who’s, whose track was a spectacle. Ever since he left the bench, Kobe Bryant has always been my favorite player. From a young age I had the instinct to be one of the greatest.
I’ve always wanted to start a media business around big names in entertainment. That has always been the goal. I was very captivated by technology at a young age. When I started building these companies and partnerships, I saw a niche way of expanding into entertainment and technology partnerships. This is very relevant today, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I started my own business. Jerry McGuire, a fan favorite, influenced me when I was a kid who wanted to work in the acting business.
I’ve always thought that entertainment and technology are closely linked. From radio and television and now the Internet, entertainment and technology have always worked together to give us the content we love. Entertainment is the stories we tell, and technology is the medium through which we convey these stories.
I’ve always been interested in entertainment as a reflection of what makes us human. However, seeing the rise of the Internet in the 2000’s made me realize that technology would play a key role in helping build the celebrities of the future. At that time, I set out to find not only the most disruptive stars in entertainment, but also the most disruptive tech companies.
Daso: You mentioned in previous conversations that the music business and the film industry are slow to adopt new technologies. What are some of the new technologies you saw during the investment that could help solve these canonical problems?
Morriatti: The entertainment industry is facing the disruption of new technology and can advance in multiple areas. I believe that all music and movies should be turned into software and should be calculated every time a song or movie is played or shared, and the creators of the works receive full compensation. I stand for all artists, and I think we can solve these problems with today’s technology. I started a blockchain music app in 2017 that did this.
Collaborating with Nipsey Hussle with this company was one of the most outstanding associations I made at the time. Raise money and let the fans share in the winnings. This, unfortunately, was too early; now, I see companies doing it successfully. I’m still involved in music to some extent, whether it’s investing in music technology companies or a LoudEra record label (Louyah’s home) or A & Ring for one of my superstar friends because they know I’m not a yes.
I’ve been in the studio and seen the biggest records ever made with combined sales of over 80 million records, including TASTE from Tyga, their best-selling album to date. There are many ways to advance in the business side of music and movies. We’ll see how I and others can push the envelope. I think we will continue to see the most advanced industry adopt these new technologies and interrupt the stagnant players who are not making the necessary investments today for tomorrow.
Daso: Over the last decade, there has been a wave of celebrities entering the venture capital industry, either as limited partners (LPs) or angel investors in their own right. How do you leverage your connections in the talent management business to add value to the startups you invest in?
Morriatti: I have brought many animators to some of the companies in my portfolio and aligned the missions of others. This has helped to bring about great causes and everyone seems to be satisfied. I usually find synergies between the two and look for a more organic approach to incorporating animators into investment firms. One client told me that he made more investments with me than playing on the field last season.
I am also an investor / advisor to Bev (@drinkbev), a women-owned canned wine company that has been transformed into a women’s brand and media business. We continue to build Bev’s media business. Animators offer unique added value as they help shape popular culture and have a large audience that trusts them for their taste. Influence can be used to amplify the mission of a company that seeks to change the world for the better. This is just the beginning for them and many more!
One of the most rewarding things has been working with a mentor for me, Gee Roberson. I admire his ethics and work ethic. I was able to take it to offers and vice versa. This has been gratifying because he is an absolute nonconformist, and I look forward to learning more from him and aspiring to be considered as such.
Daso: When did you first become interested in investing in technology companies, especially FinTech startups?
Morriatti: I started working in technology when I started my first media company; this was after a successful outing in my first business in college and after working on a record label. I was intrigued by all the tech companies that came out at the time (Facebook, PayPal, and Amazon). I thought, what if you could partner with a young animator at the time with a new startup like Facebook, and you could build their legacies together, maybe even help them catapult them even further. That’s when I started making capital partnerships in startups that led to advice, which led to investments that led to outflows. This eventually led me to create my own fund. Finance is an industry that has historically taken advantage of some of the most marginalized populations. The idea of applying technology to disrupt many of these companies was very appealing to me. I entered the FinTech space in 2015 from this thesis and have seen the emergence of many large companies focused on more equitable practices.
I had started buying and trading bitcoins, which made me think that there was a much easier and faster way to transact with these bitcoins. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with finding a solution that eventually led me to invest in leading crypto companies like Gemini, MoonPay, and Animoca Brands, to name a few, which are some of the major disruptors in their respective spaces. I look forward to participating in the creation and operation of my own peer exchange someday, a fair, decentralized bank, if you will.
Daso: How will you evolve from being a competent angel investor in popular startups to managing a small institutional fund?
Morriatti: After the current events, I became more aggressive with angel investments because I saw how quickly the world was changing for the better. He was making so many investments and raising money for so many different companies. I partnered with William Andreasyan (a graduate of USC and an analyst who has worked at the forefront of funds). I decided it was right for us to start Envisioned Capital, its parent company was Envisioned; a management and media company. Specializing in creating media and brands around the best athletes and entertainers today. We go beyond representation to build perennial media brands and companies. We just wanted to have our own fund to which we can give access to our clients while we continue to work with our favorite companies.
Daso: What were the most important factors in building your fund’s LP base?
Morriatti: Our LPs have been people we admired and are outstanding business executives and advisors. We have been able to work very kindly with SPV partners and advisors.
Our network of friends and mentors has been instrumental in our success. We are fortunate to have LPs that are leaders in their respective industries, and the ability to take advantage of their collective ideas gives us an edge.
The companies and industry leaders I love are Roth Capital Partners (Byron Roth, Andrew Costa), Sound Ventures (Gee Roberson) and Electric Feel Ventures (Austin Rosen).
Daso: How will you accelerate the intersection of technology and entertainment as Hollywood and Silicon Valley continue to overlap?
Morriatti: I will redouble what I am currently doing, investing and advising companies not tomorrow but in the future. Such a future will change tomorrow for the betterment of humanity. I am a dreamer and I dream that there is a better future in the world, not just entertainment. I intend to make this mission a reality and leave my mark on future dreamers.
I hope to accelerate convergence by acting as an intermediary between two worlds. Envisioned Capital is home to visionaries: the world’s largest companies and investors working together to build a future we can all be proud of.
Represent future icons and create businesses and media companies that import and inspire future dreamers themselves.
We imagined all this and now we are here!