CAA Partners with Tech Incubator Y Combinator for Angel Conference

Jared Leto Speaking AMAs - H 2015
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Jared Leto Speaking AMAs - H 2015

Jared Leto and well-known angel investor Ron Conway will be on hand to speak at CAA's Century City offices.

CAA has partnered with tech-startup incubator Y Combinator to host an educational conference for clients and friends of the agency who are interested in learning more about angel investments in the startup space. The event is scheduled for Feb. 11 at the agency's Century City headquarters.

Helping to contribute to the conversation will be Oscar winner and tech investor Jared Leto (Zenefits, Reddit, Nest) and renowned angel investor Ron Conway (Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat). 

Leto will sit down for an interview with YC partner Justin Kan, who also cofounded Twitch. The two will likely discuss Leto's foray into tech investing as well as guidance and advice the multi-hyphenate has for potential investors. In addition to Conway, the roster of speakers at the event includes YC cofounder and partner Jessica Livingston, YC partner and Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, YC partner/legal counsel Jonathan Levy and YC partner/CFO Kirsty Nathoo. YC partner/COO Qasar Younis will moderate a Q&A session with his fellow YC partners. 

Livingston tells THR that YC has hosted angel conferences in Silicon Valley and this week's session will offer a similar introduction to investment opportunities in the tech space though this one marks a significant push to include entertainment industry insiders courtesy of CAA and agent Michael Kives, who is spearheading the conference on behalf of the powerhouse firm. The private event will end with a cocktail reception. 

"Really the goal of it is to help people get started," Livingston notes, adding that she met Kives at one of YC's "demo days" a couple of years ago. "We're always looking for more angel investors and this gives us an opportunity to share knowledge and mechanics of investing. We'll talk about what makes a good angel, here are things you should do, here are things you should not do and here is what our startups are looking for." 

YC has funded more than 1,000 startups and its roster of success stories is impressive: Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Stripe and many others. 

"The work that Jessica and YC does is incredible and they are best-in-class," Kives tells THR, adding that the agency consistently fields phone calls from clients inquiring about investment opportunities in the tech space. "We thought it would be great to do a road show ... and open it up to people in the entertainment business." 

Kives explains that many clients, studio executives, producers and others are creative-types with large spheres of influence who may need additional help to best utilize their skills or investments. "They can have a real platform to help these companies in a real way," Kives says. 

Livingston, Paul Graham, Robert Morris and Trevor Blackwell teamed to form Y Combinator in 2005, incubating the first batch of companies in Cambridge, Mass., before heading west to Silicon Valley where it's been headquartered since. Recent months have seen Y Combinator expand under newly promoted president Sam Altman to include a late-stage growth fund, fellowship program and research lab. YC currently has 127 startups in its three-month program, the largest batch the company has had since its inception.