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Talent agency ICM Partners has teamed with law firm Manatt Phelps & Philips and tech startup accelerator Originate to create incubator program O Labs.
The venture, led by CEO Matthew Pierce, is meant to create companies that address challenges facing large enterprise businesses. Originate, a design and software development firm with offices in eight cities, will provide the engineering infrastructure, Manatt, which has a dedicated digital media group, will provide business consulting and legal services. ICM, meanwhile, will help with sales, marketing and branding efforts.
O Labs will invest in between three and five companies a year. The firm has not disclosed the financial investment from its founding companies, but Pierce says each partner is investing money and services into the venture. The firm will invest in each business and will retain a majority stake in the startups it helps found.
“We’re bringing a lot of operation expertise,” he tells THR. “We’re building the software, we’re filing the IP, we’re doing the PR. We’re doing a lot of the heavy lifting here at O Labs in a way that I don’t think a lot of traditional incubators have done.”
The first portfolio company from O Labs is Versus, a platform for video game tournaments where gamers can compete for cash prizes. The business, founded by game designer Brandii Grace, will work with developers and publishers to organize competitions for their fans.
Although there are several startup incubators and accelerators in town, Pierce says O Labs stands out by adapting to every company that it works with.
“We’re going to be able to build products in a way that accelerator and incubators won’t be able to,” he says. “We’re going to be a bit more tailored to each portfolio company. I don’t think it makes sense for us to have a cookie cutter approach to each portfolio company.”
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