Peacock Equity aims to spreads its wings

Peacock Equity Fund, the digital media venture arm of GE and NBC Universal, is hunting for late stage deals as it looks to invest more than $200 million that’s left in a $250 million fund launched in April.

Created as a strategic investment vehicle for its parent company, the fund has taken part in five venture rounds, all at the Series B stage. Peacock plans to invest the remainder of its fund over the next three years, and the firm will look to put more money in growth companies, says Managing Director Tom Byrne.

“We’re not looking to do just seed investments and wait maybe five or 10 years,” he says. “We’re looking at proof of concept and in terms of where is the strategic angle for NBC.”

Much of the investment strategy revolves around tracking changing media consumption habits. Byrne says that people today are viewing video on multiple devices, demanding interactive content and multi-tasking capabilities among several media offerings, such as games and television programs. For NBC, the plan is to make money in a venture investment, and also to find technologies that can give the core media business a competitive edge.

So far, the fund has invested about $35 million in five companies, including three in the digital advertising space, such as Adify, operator of a online ad platform; IGA Worldwide, a provider of a network for in-game ads; and Firebrand Media, a developer of digital signage. Peacock’s two other deals are Trion World Network, a developer of connected game and entertainment franchises; and Healthline, a consumer health information service.

Byrne says that deal flow comes from other VCs as well as referrals from NBC and GE Capital’s media and communications finance arm.

The GE-owned fund is looking to co-invest with what Byrne categorizes as top-tier venture firms.

Peacock led the funding rounds when it invested in IGA, which also raised financing from Easton Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures, Intel Capital and DN Capital, and in Healthline, which also drew funding from Aetna Ventures, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, U.S. News and World Report, VantagePoint Venture Partners and Reed Elsevier Ventures. Byrne described the rounds as competitive.

In addition, Peacock has co-invested with DCM, Trinity Ventures, Rustic Canyon Partners, Venrock Associates and U.S. Venture Partners.

But prior funding moves indicate Peacock is willing to invest alongside competitors, too. The round raised by Trion in the summer included investments by Time Warner and Bertelsmann Digital Media.