Sapphire Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm with $2.5 billion under management that invests in emerging growth-stage companies and early-stage venture funds, is to add Michael Spirito to the role of partner in October.
In his return to the venture capital industry, Spirito will be making direct investments for Sapphire Ventures in companies spanning sports, media and entertainment—areas where he brings deep operating and investment expertise.
Spirito will join Sapphire Ventures from 21st Century Fox, where he led business development and digital media for the 22 Fox Sports Regional Networks, including the Yankee Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network.
While at YES, which he joined in 2006, he led numerous initiatives including launching the first in-market live-game streaming product in professional sports in 2009, and forming partnerships with entities such as Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Google. FOX acquired 80% of YES in 2014 in a transaction valued at several billion dollars.
A graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Amherst College, Spirito was a founding member of Time Warner Ventures in 2000, and earlier worked in the media and telecommunications group at Credit Suisse.
He has served as an early stage investor in and advisor to industry defining companies such as Bonobos, Trunk Club, Tecovas, Billie, RotoQL, Overtime Sports, Drone Racing League, Boom and Cargo.
Led by Nino Marakovic, CEO and managing director, Sapphire Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on backing innovative technology companies in becoming global category leaders, with $2.5 billion under management via direct growth investments and early-stage fund investments.