But that doesn’t guarantee a windfall from Unilever Ventures.
“I’m looking for scalable businesses that can be massive, with fantastic management teams and a good business model,” Lane said.
Programmatic companies are notable absences from Unilever Ventures’ portfolio, even though its parent is heavily interested in it and even takes leading positions on hot-button issues like viewability. But investment from the brand side doesn’t mean Unilever Ventures will follow suit.
“We haven’t invested in programmatic, actually,” said Lane, noting that the practice is mostly handled by its media agency, Mindshare (though that account, like many others servicing large brands, is up for review). “It changes quickly so it’s an area we haven’t really invested in.”
Additionally, the chilling effect that seems to have swept the investor community could make it difficult for Unilever Ventures to get other partners on board. Even if it’s interested in a programmatic company, it doesn’t want to be the only one.