WPP Ventures Group Invests In Mobile Startup Muzy

A First Investment for WPP's Newly-Created Ventures Group

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WPP's newly created ventures group run by AKQA chairman Tom Bedecarre has made its first equity investment in San Francisco-based mobile startup Muzy.

Tom Bedecarre
Tom Bedecarre

The deal comes a day after WPP announced that it had taken part in a $30 million investment round led by the Chernin Group for YouTube studio Fullscreen.

WPP didn't disclose the size of the round but Techcrunch pegs it at $4.4 million. The startup, backed by Andreessen Horowitz, will use the funds to expand from its current staff of "less than 10 people."

Founded in 2011 by Andrew Chen and Matt Rubens, Muzy is a service that allows users to collaborate on creative work. The company describes itself as a "new kind of blog for creative and visual people, where you can post, enhance, create, and share photos, thoughts, drawings, animations, collages, and all kinds of creative stuff."

The company has 20 million users and is adding a million a month, they say. Muzy is among the top-100 photo apps in 70 countries.

WPP acquired AKQA in 2012 and established its ventures group soon after. The company has a history of making investments in startups led by WPP Digital CEO Mark Read, including some hits like Facebook and Buddy Media, as well as some misses, like Spotrunner.

Like all agency holding companies, WPP is working to expand the amount of revenue it derives from digital advertising. That stood at 33% in 2012, and the group would like to expand that to 35% to 40% in the next five years.

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