Cox Enterprises, an owner of radio and TV stations, newspapers, cable and telephone services, has placed a big bet on the startup world. Moreover, it’s placed big money on the entrepreneurial instinct of Tripp Rackley, a serial entrepreneur who successfully launched and sold two companies to Intuit and Qualcomm and claims to have created over $1 billion in shareholder revenue as well as 500 jobs in Georgia.
“For several years we’ve observed Tripp’s success as an entrepreneur and recruited him to our Board of Directors because of that sterling track record,” said Jim Kennedy, Chairman, Cox Enterprises. “We’re thrilled to partner with him on this exciting new venture so that together we can build and grow the next generation of successful, high-value technology companies. It is a wonderful opportunity to work with someone we know, trust and respect.”
Cox has launched a $250 million startup fund that Rackley will head up. The entire $250 million is at Rackley’s disposal to seed any startups he wants to fund. Rackley plans to invest in five to 10 companies in the media, security, mobile commerce and payments spheres, Bloomberg reported. The fund will invest seed money to build startups from scratch.
“This is so different than the typical corporate venture arm or venture fund in general,” Rackley told Bloomberg. “Cox Enterprises is investing in these businesses for the long term. There is no fund life associated with this. We’re not trying to get back to our limited partners to tell them we made these investments and exited these companies.”
The fund’s first investment is Experience, a company Rackley founded that enables fans to easily upgrade their seats on mobile devices. Experience charges venues a small transaction fee for each upgrade. The service has been used by the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Falcons.
“This significant investment from Cox Enterprises creates a platform to develop the companies and industries of the future,” Rackley said in a statement. “My entire career has been focused on building businesses one by one, but now, we will be able to deploy our efforts simultaneously into an array of companies to drive innovation and long-term value creation.”