Comcast Adds Director, Closes Deals –

PHILADELPHIA – Comcast Interactive Capital Group, the new venture capital investment unit of cable operator Comcast Corp., concluded its first six months of operations with a flurry of activity, adding a second managing director and inking several more deals.

Managing Director John Kole joined Comcast in April, about a month after the company welcomed Sam Schwartz as its first managing director (VCJ, May, page 31). The $100 million captive VC unit also has quickly closed several new deals, investing some $35 million in 11 portfolio companies.

Comcast in June put up $5 million in a $41 million fourth-round investment in San Francisco-based online digital sports entertainment company Quokka Sports Inc. The VC unit also recently invested in several online niche Web sites, including Garden.com, Deja.com and Culturefinder, an online information and ticketing service for the arts.

Mr. Kole joined Culturefinder’s board of directors following Comcast’s $3.75 million investment in the company’s first round of financing. A veteran of Credit Suisse First Boston’s media and telecommunications group, where he focused on capital markets transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, Mr. Kole will help source deals and work with Comcast’s portfolio companies.

“A lot of the job skills cross over pretty well,” he said. “The challenge is trying to make the qualitative decisions – which are the best management teams, the best deals … You don’t have the basis of historical performance to see where these [companies] are going.”

Chairman Julian Brodsky, a vice-chairman of Comcast Corp., leads Comcast Interactive Capital Group.