EXCLUSIVE: Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s Alphabet, Inc., has just hired its first advisor in the entertainment and media space. The company known only now as GV was founded in 2009 and has since invested in about 300 companies, including Uber and Nest and now it has tapped Craig Kornblau to help them with strategy and look for opportunities in this space. He will not only be working with GV’s entire portfolio, but will be helping to look for potential investments.
The one-time President of Universal Home Entertainment left the business in 2014 after 16 years in the post, and then began working with private equity firms and entreprenuers. He is now coming back to the entertainment/media industries at the behest of GV CEO and managing partner David Krane. The deal was orchestrated by attorneys Ken Ziffren and Skip Brittenham who knew both Krane and Kornblau.
The former executive also had stints at Universal Music and Distribution and at Walt Disney Home Entertainment helping in international distribution.
Said Krane: “Craig Kornblau is a master storyteller and consumer marketer, honed through his years of experience at NBC Universal and Disney. At the time when physical and digital businesses were beginning to converge, Craig forged sales and supply chain strategies that were game changers in the media industry. He … has a valuable set of skills to share with our portfolio.”
As a strategist, Kornblau has provided advice and guidance to a bevy of companies, including Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, Comcast, Microsoft, Netflix, Sony, Target, Walmart and, of course, Google.
In speaking with Kornblau, it was clear to Deadline that he has both a financial and marketing mind whose expertise is engaging with the all-important target audience for any given company. “My goal is to be in constant contact with key GV partners on their investment activities,” he said.
He added that his experience in entertainment — which ran the gamut from identifying consumer trends, operations, distribution, retail, co-branding and brand-building, marketing and promotion — taught him “how to connect the consumer through storytelling and delivering an emotional experience.” He said that he is basically helping tech visionary’s harness and then capitalize on their inventions.
“These engineers are game changers … for years, I’ve seen how technology can change an industry. You need careful thought,” he said. “My goal is how to make these companies operate better. One of the things that David would like me to do is act as a connector with the Hollywood community and the GV companies. I also want to help the founders forge game-changing retail and e-commerce sales and supply chain strategies for their businesses.”
In addition to Kornblau, GV added three other advisors: President Obama’s Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus who is the former Governor of Mississippi and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabial; Guillaume Le Cunff, President of Nespresso USA, and CEO of the Nespresso Sustainability Innovation Fund who has extensive experience building consumer brands across Europe and the U.S, and Sanyin Siang, the executive director of the Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics (COLE), a laboratory for leadership, at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.