They dont have the “classical” training on standard media like television, so they think of it as a dumb channel that cant be tracked– which is absolutely incorrect.
Pretty much 100% of the portfolio utilizes the TV CPA ad design, but theres also conversion optimization, A/B screening, PR services, SEO and payment processing.
If you believe about the venture capital model, financiers do not bring much worth other than capital. It is still a valuable and really efficient model, because an entrepreneur gets capital and gives up just a minority share of the business.
Its TV advertising and its direct mail.

AdExchanger: What was the thesis for Forecast Labs when you started it?
ARJUN KAPUR: In late 2018 to early 2019 I was raising capital for Aaptiv [a physical fitness app, where he was CRO] At the time business was struggling to scale efficiently because Facebook and other online CPMs were increasing.
I believed this concern was going to come to a head at some time. There was a need for diversification outside Google, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram even prior to COVID happened. And now the market is observing.
I came to Comcast Ventures in 2019, and it was clear we were sitting on a goldmine of distribution in television advertising.
Online marketers have actually been trying Pinterest, Snap and TikTok lately, the performance and scale does not work for them. The reality is, modern-day growth online marketers dont understand a time prior to Facebook and iPhones. They do not have the “classical” training on conventional media like television, so they believe of it as a dumb channel that cant be tracked– which is definitely false.
If we could produce a CPA-based TV advertising model to finance investments, we could scale our investments meaningfully because this is the only other channel that can equal the mass market size of the digital incumbents.
Does Comcast use cost-per-acquisition ad items?
Our services are not available beyond the business we have equity interest and financial investment in.
Buying TV advertisements on a CPA or CAC [client acquisition cost] design is among about 12 services we offer to business in our portfolio. Pretty much 100% of the portfolio utilizes the TV CPA advertisement design, however theres likewise conversion optimization, A/B testing, PR services, SEO and payment processing.
Do you invest too, or is it more of an exchange of media and services for equity?
We invest in all the companies in the portfolio. But it is a different model.
If you think about the venture capital model, financiers dont bring much worth other than capital. And, honestly, cash is inexpensive. People will line up to give you money if you have an excellent idea. It is still a valuable and really efficient design, due to the fact that a business owner gets capital and quits just a minority share of business.
On the other end of the spectrum is personal equity, and thats majority ownership, where they bring in their team and take a controlling share.
Theres nothing in the middle. And thats what were attempting to construct.
But it is more like equity capital?
The middle is closer to equity capital, in that its minority ownership. Its more hands-on help and assistance in ways that materially impact the worth and development of the service.
Other VC groups arent bringing actual paying consumers to the table. For us, its about asking what worth we can bring beyond just capital.
Since were not really a firm, I do not want to utilize the word agency. Were an extension of the internal team helping them scale business, but we likewise bring media to the table and can drive growth through marketing due to the fact that we own the media.
How numerous business are in the portfolio?
Six active right now, and well most likely add a handful next year.
Another difference from VC is were not trying to do every offer under the sun or invest commonly in a category. In the VC world, theres the 80/20 guideline, since 80% of deals go nowhere and the 20% carry the funds.
Were trying to make sure basically all of the companies in our fund are actually scaling and becoming unicorns, essentially.
And if we believe in a business, we dedicate. We have Hippo Insurance in the insurance classification, is a brokerage we believe in and Nurx is a femaless health and telemedicine company were invested in.
We put our efforts into those companies and clearly will not back another rival in the area while theyre in our fund.
Have any exited?
Acorns has a SPAC exit plan, and Hippo Insurance is noted on the stock market now. Those are our only 2 exits up until now.
What are the top priorities of the companies and creators youre purchasing?
Minimizing their dependence on business like Facebook and Google, because CPMs are rising like insane and its ending up being a growing number of hard for direct-to-consumer services to reach success.
And its going to be ended up being even more challenging in the future. This is not a pandemic-driven problem. Although its ended up being a bigger part of the conversation offered the pandemic, this concern has existed for a long time and wont end with the pandemic.
Founders and business have terrific ideas and desire to develop organizations. Being able to obtain customers efficiently is an issue.
Weve never lost an offer, unlike the normal VC company, since our value prop resonates with creators. They require media companies that can drive effective scale for them.
And, the truth is, those media channels exist. Its TV marketing and its direct mail. These things seem old, but they work.
This interview has actually been modified and condensed.

“On television & & Video” is a column checking out chances and obstacles in innovative TV and video. Todays column is by AdExchanger Sr. Editor James Hercher.
Theres nothing new about a tech-and-media giant like Comcast developing an equity capital arm.
However Forecast Labs, a system of Comcast Ventures, is putting a new spin on VC financial investments by leveraging special access to Comcast stock and media services.
In 2018, Arjun Kapur, now the handling director of Forecast Labs but then the SVP of marketing, growth and analytics for meal kit company HelloFresh, was anxiously searching for scalable marketing channels.
For instance, HelloFresh had begun investing in shopping center kiosks, Kapur stated, since they cost just $2,000 to establish, which implied they settled after a relatively little number of sales … at least back when malls had stable foot traffic.
“Thats how desperate we were for growth channels outside the big social platforms,” he stated. It took longer to understand that a standard media channel like television might be the hero start-ups require, if not the one they are worthy of right now.
A year later on, that seed of a concept turned into an investment thesis when Kapur joined Comcast Ventures and began Forecast Labs, an internal group that invests in startups, including Acorns, Hippo Insurance and the brokerage, and helps them grow with access to inventory, media reach and data-driven services.
AdExchanger caught up with Kapur to discuss Forecast Labs VC model, and what startups and creators require to understand today.