Sir Martin Sorrell targets adtech, data analysis and metaverse with new VC fund

Martin Sorrell speaking on-stage at an event, gesticulating with cupped hands
Sir Martin Sorrell: S4 boss is launching VC fund (Getty Images/Harry Murphy)

Advertising boss teams up with ex-WPP senior leader Sanja Partalo and investor Daniel Pinto.

S4 Capital boss Sir Martin Sorrell is launching a venture-capital fund that will target early-stage companies within adtech, data analysis, content development and emerging digital media, as well as those exploring commercial models within the metaverse.

Sorrell has set up the fund, S4S Ventures, alongside a fellow former WPP executive Sanja Partalo and investor Daniel Pinto, the founder and CEO of Stanhope Capital.

Sorrell and Pinto are expected to inject $15m of their own money into the fund, according to The Sunday Times, and are seeking $150m in total, according to the report.

S4S aims to invest globally, but with an emphasis on the US, Europe and the Middle East.

The venture fund will be run by New York-based Partalo as managing partner.

Partalo is the former global head of strategic development and partnerships at WPP, which she left in November 2021.

She has sat on the boards of several companies over the years, including Kazoo, Fatherly, Subvrsive, The Mighty and Human Rights First.

Partalo said the fund will capitalise on new investment opportunities presented by Web3, an "incredibly fertile environment for start-ups".

"Regulatory, demographic and technological catalysts, such as a stricter privacy and regulatory environment for the tech giants, the rise of Gen Z, the democratisation of AI infrastructure, and the dawn of the metaverse, mean that this segment of the venture market benefits from significant tailwinds, presenting an exciting opportunity for investors," she said in a press release.

Specific acquisition targets include companies providing: programmatic advertising across connected TV, gaming and digital audio; identity resolution solutions; tech-enabled content development; monetisation of metaverse opportunities such as brand and creator participation; digital media focused on Gen Z.

Sorrell told The Times that a venture-capital fund was a more appropriate vehicle to invest in early-stage companies than his advertising-agency company S4 Capital, which he founded in 2018.

A version of this article originally appeared in Campaign Asia-Pacific

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