Jacob Carlson

Business Consultant

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My fantasy football league sends the last-place team on a one-way ticket to somewhere in the world. You show up at the airport and are given a boarding pass. Find your own way home. The takeaway here? Flexibility is an important aspect of working with startups, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska, is lovely in January. Valid passport required to play.

Professional Background

My passion is digital disruption and advising clients on navigating the rapidly changing digital ecosystem. I provide digital, technology, and emerging growth companies with in-depth strategic and business analysis, project management, and business development support, and have helped clients at all stages bring new products to market, raise capital to support growth, and evaluate M&A opportunities. I am also a principal for Manatt Venture Fund, providing a venture capital perspective to emerging company clients when needed.

I have worked with clients at the ideation stage, with multibillion-dollar corporations and everything in between. The common denominator among my clients is their focus on accelerating growth, increasing enterprise value or both.

I frequently speak at digital media events and author articles about venture capital, esports and gaming, and dealmaking in the digital and technology space.


Representative Experience With Emerging Companies

  • I have run diligence on hundreds of companies for Manatt Venture Fund, from pre-seed to pre-IPO stages, and invested in dozens of high-quality deals across industries. I understand the importance of positioning and messaging within the competitive landscape, identifying and achieving important milestones, and reaching breakout momentum to scale a business effectively. I help executives understand the nuances of raising capital, position their companies for transactions of all types, and communicate their value proposition to customers, partners and investors.
  • Helped a production studio and management company increase its value by repositioning to capitalize on new business models and revenue streams enabled by digital. Interviewed key executive stakeholders across business units to gain a deep understanding of their business model, vision and objectives, current strategy, projects, and initiatives. Facilitated an educational session with executive stakeholders on current opportunities and challenges in the industry and competitor moves impacting their business and clients. Developed digital transformation strategy with strategic priorities overall and for each business unit, including key capabilities for generating long-term value and near-term revenue-generating opportunities in the digital video market. Identified strategic partnership opportunities to accelerate growth in the digital video market. Developed messaging that unified existing efforts and recommended digital initiatives in a coherent story. This increased potential for growth was a key factor in increasing the company’s valuation to well over nine figures in closing its financing deal.
  • Built a financial model for a fast-growing podcasting network in order to attract seed-stage capital. Worked with the CEO to understand historical progress, the company’s vision, and key areas of growth validated against market data and trends. This model is being used in conjunction with our recommendations on positioning and messaging, target identification, and outreach.


Area of Focus

  • Digital media/entertainment
  • Technology
  • Venture capital

My Advice to Entrepreneurs
  1. Make sure your customers clearly understand your value proposition. You may know how you are differentiated, but your customers are the only people who matter.
  2. Raise capital thoughtfully. Understand your business and what financing options best suit your needs. Date your investors before you marry them.
  3. Life is short—surround yourself with high-quality people, both personally and professionally; it’ll save you time, money and energy in the long run. Find people you trust and can lean on in hard times and celebrate with in good times. There will be plenty of both.