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S4Capital and Stanhope Capital Group Launch New Venture Capital Fund – S4S Ventures

  • Fund to invest in early-stage technology companies serving the Marketing and Advertising Industries
  • Seeks to raise up to $150m from investors
  • S4Capital and Stanhope Capital’s network and insight, combined with sector specialism of S4S Ventures Co-Founder and Managing Partner Sanja Partalo, provide differentiation in identifying investment opportunities and accelerating growth of portfolio companies

January 16, 2022 –– S4S Ventures (“S4S”), a new venture capital firm investing in technology companies focused on the marketing and advertising industries, launches today with a target of up to $150m to focus on early-stage technology investments with the ability to transform the sector.

S4S aims to invest in companies across five principal areas: Martech, Adtech, Data Technology, Creative Technology, and Emerging Digital Media/Content. It will focus on investments which capture opportunities presented by the next wave of digital transformation in the marketing and advertising sectors, primarily at early funding stages.

The Fund is particularly interested in supporting companies providing solutions for: (a) acceleration of programmatic advertising across Connected TV, gaming and digital audio ecosystems, (b) data warehousing, ingestion and analysis for the purposes of identity resolution, (c) transformation of content development and underlying workflows, by leveraging cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure, (d) monetization of metaverse opportunities, through development of software tools to facilitate/enable brand and creator participation, and (e) emerging digital media capturing the attention of Generation Z.

The Fund will invest globally, but with an emphasis on the US, Europe and the Middle-East.

Deal activity and public offerings in the advertising and marketing technology industry are rising as the sector gets a boost from accelerated digitisation. Global digital ad spend in 2021 totalled $491.7bn, a 29.1% YoY increase, per research firm eMarketer. Martech, Adtech and Computational Creativity sectors are all growing by double digits. 2021 saw an unprecedented number of IPOs within the Ad/Martech sector, with 18 companies completing public issuances in the US, with success stories such as Braze (a martech company) reaching a $6bn market cap (as of Jan 22). Creative technology and digital content sectors are also experiencing a boom, as evident with Adobe’s recent acquisition of video-collaboration software company, for $1.275bn, and Meta’s acquisition of VR/AR content developer, Within, among others.

S4S will be led by Sanja Partalo, a highly experienced digital industry specialist and investor who was formerly Global Head of Strategic Development and Partnerships at WPP. S4Capital, the tech-led, new age/new era digital advertising and marketing services company established by Sir Martin Sorrell, and Stanhope Capital Group, the global investment firm with $30 billion under management founded by Daniel Pinto, as founders of the fund will act as part of the General Partner. Daniel Pinto and Sir Martin Sorrell will also sit on its investment committee. Founders of S4Capital and Stanhope Capital Group will be investing in the fund, but not S4Capital itself.

Ms. Partalo and the S4S team will benefit from the support of the S4Capital network, with over 7,500 people operating from 33 countries, and from Stanhope’s established investment expertise and track record in both private and public markets. S4S will be uniquely positioned to identify, source and help scale up the next generation of market leaders in the industry.

Sanja Partalo, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of S4S, said: “We are entering ‘Web 3.0’ – the next stage of digital evolution. It is an incredibly fertile environment for start-ups which are focused on transforming the marketing and advertising sector through new technologies. Regulatory, demographic and technological catalysts – such as a stricter privacy and regulatory environment for the tech giants, the rise of Gen Z, the democratization of AI infrastructure, and the dawn of the Metaverse – mean that this segment of the venture market benefits from significant tailwinds, presenting an exciting opportunity for investors.”

Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman of S4Capital, commented: “S4S’s aim is to be a very engaged and creative equity owner. The fund will provide investee companies with more than capital – offering differentiated value through the advantage afforded by the S4 network and our specialist knowledge with geographical, client and talent inputs. We are in a strong position to help portfolio companies validate ideas, launch products, accelerate growth with clients and partners and help engineer strategic partnerships, investments and exits.”

Daniel Pinto, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stanhope Capital, added: “Stanhope Capital has a strong track record in private equity and venture capital and our clients – both in Europe and the US – have benefited from our network and relationships which have enabled investment opportunities in some of the most exciting and high growth companies in the world. What we observe today is that venture capital itself is in the midst of profound structural change, as more money flows into private markets. Both investors and investee companies have identified the sweet spot of value generation as being highly specialised, value-led partnerships between founders and investment firms. S4S‘s investment strategy, team composition and strategic alignment with S4 deliver this and represent an exciting new breed of venture capital firm.”


Media contacts:

For Stanhope Capital

Andrew Wilde

+44 (0)7786 022 022

Jess Gill

+44 (0)7980 684 247

For S4 Capital

Elly Williamson

07970 246 725

Sabine Pirone