With up to $1bn in funds, this Black woman-founded venture capital is making giant strides in the entertainment space

BY Preta Peace Namasaba May 29, 2024 7:57 AM EDT
Sherrese Clarke Soares of HarbourView Equity Partners.

The entertainment industry is always evolving, and it’s hard to predict which film genres, music, or platforms will be popular in the future. Sherrese Clarke Soares’ HarbourView Equity Partners is actively investing in the future of entertainment by looking for businesses or assets driven by intellectual property and investment opportunities that aim to create lasting value and returns. With over $1 billion of investable capital, this Black woman-owned firm has established a strong platform to safeguard, optimize, and enhance the value of high-quality intellectual property.

“Our underlying thesis is that in 25 years from now, everybody will still be listening to music. And everybody will still be watching their favorite shows. How they watch them, how they experience them, those things will change over time. Storytelling and music, it’s core to the human experience. And so being as close to investing in the creation of new IP and supporting people and businesses that are powered by exceptional IP — that’s where we want to invest,” Clarke Soares explained her firm’s business strategy.

Before launching HarbourView in 2021, Clarke Soares spent 15 years as a managing director at Morgan Stanley. She founded and led the firm’s entertainment, media, and sports-structured solutions group. She was also the founder and CEO of Tempo Music, a music rights investment platform backed by Providence Equity Partners. Establishing HarbourView had always been her dream and she coined the term “content is queen,” after realizing her mission to invest in content creators and music copyrights.

HarbourView launched with up to $1 billion of financial backing from investment giant Apollo Global Management. It later improved its buying power by increasing its credit facility by $100 million to $300 million. With a focus on investment opportunities in the entertainment and media space, the firm invests in assets and companies driven by premier intellectual property, with experience in and around esoteric asset classes, including in music, film, TV, and sports. HarbourView believes that creators deserve to own their narrative and is creating an ecosystem that maximizes value for all parties.

The firm has been extremely active since its launch and has acquired over 45 music catalogs to date. Its diversified catalog features over 28,100 songs across both master recordings and publishing income streams. Clarke Soares’ strategy reaped early success from investing in regional Mexican music song catalogs as well as indie music labels in a range of genres. HarbourView was already engaged in the regional Mexican music space years before Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma released their big hits.

“And then, when you stop and realize how personal music is to everyone’s individual experience, it’s not about being the cool kid. It’s just about being human and connecting to the fact that everybody has something that they love. That thing that they love may or may not be in the top forty. That’s a core part of how we think about our investing style, too. It’s appreciating that I never have to have heard of an artist before. We think that it’s meaningful and relevant to somebody,” Clarke Soares said about why she is investing diversely.

HarbourView has acquired rights to music by Wiz Khalifa, Jeremih, Nelly, Luis Fonsi, and Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, among others. Additionally, the asset manager has made investments in film and TV such as multi-platform media company MACRO and the Los Angeles-based content company, Mucho Mas Media. HarbourView recently secured approximately $500 million in debt financing through a private securitization backed by its diversified catalog of music royalties. This new funding will enable Clarke Soares to reinforce her imprint on the future of the entertainment industry as new technologies emerge and new ways of consuming music are developed.