Social-minded Provenance raises fund

With an eye at advancing society, Provenance Ventures launched a $10 million inaugural fund last week to invest in early stage media and communications companies.

The Los Angeles-based firm focuses on investing in innovative companies that leverage social technologies to advance society.

Provenance Ventures founder and Managing Director Bryan Biniak is credited for his development and advancement of the media and communications market. He has led the development of at least five startup companies worldwide, ranging from interactive media and gaming to wireless communications. Prior to founding Provenance Ventures, Biniak served as senior vice president and general manager for AG Interactive, the new media division of American Greetings Corp. Before that, Biniak served as COO for Moviso, in which he was a member of the management team that sold the company to InfoSpace in November 2003. He also served as COO of YourMobile and oversaw its sale to Vivendi Universal.

Biniak says he hopes his proactive role in company development will improve people’s lives. “There’s a lot of powerful enhancements that if harnessed could help people take the next leap in living their lives,” he says. He cites, as an example, the rise of social media, such as blogs, as an interest area for the firm. “We’ve lived for decades with linear programming and it’s time to open that up and get more viewpoints,” he says.

The firm’s first investment is in a broadcast media startup that is still in stealth mode. The firm expects to make between 20 to 40 investments from the fund, investing between $250,000 and $500,000 per company. Biniak raised the fund from five individuals and strategic corporate investors. He expects to hire four to five investment professionals during the next three months. At least one of those people will be a former venture capitalist. —Alexander Haislip