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Spreading Wealth to World Digital Media

By Marke Andrews

Source: The Vancouver Sun

Vancouverites help organize fund with a projected $100 million to spend by May

A new fund earmarked for the video game and digital media industry — which was started by a company co-directed by two Vancouver games executives — is expected to close its first stage in late May with $100 million to invest.

The fund was started by Vanedge Capital, a new company that Paul Lee and Glenn Entis, both former executives at Electronic Arts Canada, co-founded with California-based Owen G. Mahoney and Shanghai-based Jason Chein, both of whom also worked for EA.

Money from investors will go to businesses that create digital media and interactive entertainment, where video games are the leading pillar.

If you’re an individual looking to invest in an industry that continues to grow while others shrink, the minimum the fund accepts is $2 million, although there are ways people can invest smaller amounts as part of an overall investment portfolio.

“With a $2 million minimum per individual investor, it’s really not that accessible for most investors,” said David Sung, president of Vancouver-based wealth management firm Nicola Wealth Management, which manages about $1 billion in assets. “This fund is a private-equity style of fund. It’s not going to produce any cash flow. It’s certainly to invest for the long term.”

That said, those of us who don’t have $2 million to play with can still get Nicola Wealth to put smaller amounts of money in the Vanedge fund as part of our investment portfolio. Sung said his company has directed “many millions of dollars” into the Vanedge fund on behalf of Nicola Wealth’s clients.

The amount could be as little as $25,000.

“That $25,000 is a lot more palatable for our clients than $2 million,” said Sung. “Paul and Glenn and their investment team would choose where to invest that $25,000 or our behalf and our clients’ behalf.”

It could go to a videogame company, but it could also go to a company making an impact in the digital media field, whether it be a revenue-generating website or an online comic book.

According to Sung, Vanedge Capital is free to invest the fund capital in companies of its choosing, regardless of where they are located.

“It could be anywhere in the world, be it Vancouver, Silicon Valley, Kelowna, China, or India,” said Sung, stating that the first of the fund’s two stages will close at the end of May with $100 million for Vanedge to invest. The second stage will close before the end of the year with another $50 million to $100 million of fund capital.

The most direct way to carve a piece of the thriving digital entertainment pie is to buy into a company as a silent partner or an “angel” investor, if you can find a company looking for a partner.