Ex-Akimbo CEO, Now Norwest VC Hunts Video Startups

Funding doesn’t seem to be having any trouble navigating its way to online video startups these days, but it recently found a new guide. Joshua Goldman joined Norwest Venture Partners earlier this summer as part of the firm’s recent efforts to staff up in the consumer Internet space.

9927goldman-website.jpgThe former CEO of Akimbo, a video hardware startup that recently switched to  a software only model, Goldman knows his way around the world of video. While he’ll also be trying to fund things like search and social networks, we set up a call with Goldman to ask who he wants to take meetings with in the online video space.

First of all, Goldman already has one video investment, a personal angel investment made in Inlet Technologies, an encoding startup. He’s also getting involved in Norwest portfolio company Veveo, the mobile video search startup Om covered last week.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Goldman said he had the go-ahead from Norwest to look at content startups. That’s not to say VCs aren’t investing in companies like Funny or Die and VideoJug, but Norwest has traditionally been devoted to information technology, emphasis on the technology. Times have changed. “It’s something my partners have agreed we will look at if the economics are right,” Goldman said.

“There are so many opportunities for distribution that didn’t exist five years ago,” he explained, naming video sites devoted to anime, extreme sports, and how-tos as “niche and specialty areas” that might be worthy of venture funding.

The other thing Goldman said that surprised me was that he might be interested in investing in online video editing, a space that, to my eye, doesn’t seem to be creating many viable companies. He contended that such tools are early stage yet.

Goldman also named some unsurprising topics — aggregation of content from various sources to be distributed to various devices, search and discovery (he likes imeem, iLike, and Mesmo.TV), and advertising — as other digital media areas he’s scoping out.