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Press Release

Michael Spirito Joining Sapphire Ventures as Partner

Michael Spirito Joining Sapphire Ventures as Partner
September 21, 2018

PALO ALTO, Calif.Sept. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Sapphire Ventures, a leading venture capital firm with $2.5 billion under management that invests in emerging growth-stage companies and early-stage venture funds, today announced that Michael Spirito will be joining the firm as a partner in October. In his return to the venture capital industry, Michael will be making direct investments for Sapphire Ventures in companies spanning sports, media and entertainment—areas where he brings deep operating and investment expertise.

Michael 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, Michael 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.

“Michael’s experience, fit and proven ability as an investor and operator in digital media and sports make him an excellent addition to the Sapphire team,” said Nino Marakovic, CEO and managing director at Sapphire Ventures. “I look forward to Michael joining Sapphire and becoming a key contributor to our direct investment strategy in the sports, media and entertainment sectors.”

“I am excited to return to venture capital and help Sapphire Ventures scale its portfolio of companies that are disrupting the digital consumer experience,” said Spirito. “The sports media universe is rapidly evolving, and I look forward to working alongside the talented investment team at Sapphire to identify and support the next generation of entrepreneurs creating disruptive technology businesses in this attractive space.”

A graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Amherst College, Michael 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.

Since 2011, Sapphire Ventures has seen 53 of its companies exit the portfolio, including 13 exits in the last 18 months – Alfresco (acquired by THL Partners), Alteryx, BlackDuck (acquired by Synopsys), CloudHealth Technologies (acquired by VMware), Cyphort (acquired by Juniper Networks), DocuSign, Inkling (acquired by Marlin Equity Partners), Integral Ad Science (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), Lithium (acquired by Vista), MuleSoft, (acquired by Salesforce), Newgen Software, SAVO (acquired by Seismic) and Socrata (acquired by Tyler Technologies).

About Sapphire Ventures

Sapphire Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on helping innovative technology companies become global category leaders. Leveraging nearly two decades of experience and an extensive global enterprise network, Sapphire Ventures invests capital, resources and expertise to enable its portfolio companies to scale rapidly. Whether entrepreneurs sell to businesses, consumers or both, Sapphire Ventures offers a powerful platform for business development and operational excellence to help them accelerate growth. With $2.5 billion under management via direct growth investments and early-stage fund investments, Sapphire Ventures is positioned to elevate companies to the global stage.