Los Angeles Business Journal

UTA Adds Tech Vet to Expand Investments

By Natalie Jarvey Wednesday, October 9, 2013

United Talent Agency is increasing its presence in the world of tech.

The digital media arm of the Beverly Hills agency has hired tech startup veteran Robyn Ward to work with young companies and seek out investment opportunities.

Ward, who started at UTA last month, said she is helping the agency create a more formal investment strategy and look at ways to incubate and consult with startups.

"I think there are a lot of ways that UTA can add value," she told the Business Journal. "There's a whole strategic business and business development angle that an agency can bring to the table. Agencies can be very smart money and they've only really begun to play in the tech space."

UTA has had a digital media division since the early 2000s, but more recently has begun to look seriously at the technology industry.

The agency was involved in the creation of AwesomenessTV, a YouTube network founded by television veteran Brian Robbins that was acquired by DreamWorks Animation earlier this year. It is also one of the investors in the Startup Garage incubator run out of USC's Viterbi School of Engineering.

Brent Weinstein, who heads the division, said that as his team has begun to focus more on working with early stage businesses, he knew he needed to hire someone with experience and contacts in that space.

"I needed someone with tremendous amount of experience getting companies off the ground," he said. "I wanted someone who was an insider. Robyn checks all those boxes."

Ward, who has worked at a number of startups, was most recently vice president of business development, sales and marketing at publishing startup Glossi. She left the company not long after it announced in July that founder and chief executive Matt Edelman would step down from his position and move into an advisory role.

Ward said the CEO reshuffling was not part of her decision to leave Glossi. She also remains an advisor to the company.

"Sixteen years was a long time to be on the inside," she said of working at startups. "I really wanted to come up with a new way to leverage my experience. This was the perfect opportunity."