Newcomer Alert: Digital-Media Veteran Larry Kramer Joins Polaris
Yesterday brought the news that Larry Kramer—the founder of MarketWatch and former president of CBS Digital Media—has signed on as a senior advisor to Waltham-based Polaris Venture Partners, where he will help shape the venture giant’s digital-media portfolio. This morning we caught up with Kramer (via phone) in Macau, which he describes as a Vegas pretender, but with strange games. “I can’t tell if I’m winning or losing,” he quips.
Macau is growing like a weed, Kramer says. What’s also growing these days is Polaris’s interest and investment in the digital-media space, and Kramer’s background dovetails perfectly with that. “Larry’s an outstanding talent with a very diverse track record of success, be it as a journalist, a nimble founding CEO, a digital-media ace,” says Alan Spoon, a managing general partner at the firm. “He’s highly creative, certainly knows a whole bunch about digital media, both talent, businesses, and trends, and he’s intensely interested in that entire space.”
Indeed, says Kramer, “I think it’s the most exciting time in history in the media,” a time when the emergence of new media provides an opportunity to “reinventing storytelling.” Kramer, whose friendship with Spoon dates back some 30 years to when they both worked at the Washington Post, has tried twice to take time off of work, but has found that he’s not the retiring type. “I love golf, but if I play it too much I’ll just keep reminding myself how bad I am,” he says.
The Polaris position will allow a good deal of flexibility for Kramer, who splits his time between homes in New York and Tiburon, CA. He has committed to working with several of the firm’s portfolio companies, including Internet comedy network JibJab Media and Athletes’ Performance, which provides integrated performance-training services and “media rich” online performance-training information. He’ll either join the companies’ boards, or help them recruit appropriate directors; another aim is to help the new-media firms find ways to work with traditional media. All in all, “For me it’s terrific, it’s a way to keep my hand in the game,” says Kramer.