A secret venture capital arm, started by The Walt Disney Company, has made its first investment - $2m in Gilian Technologies, a provider of web content security solutions.
Steamboat Ventures, inspired by the 1928 debut of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in the cartoon 'Steamboat Willie', has been set up to invest in early-to-mid stage, technology-focused companies in emerging media and entertainment markets.
Founded in the Autumn of 2000, Steamboat Ventures targets investments of $2m-5m with a maximum of $10m in any single company.
In the past few years, Disney's corporate development arm has invested in several companies, such as Toysmart and Hollywood's House of Blues.
As the first recipient of Steamboat funds, Gilian Technologies, founded in 1998, has built a product that prevents unauthorised changes to a website, reaching web surfers.
Rafael Feitelberg, Gilian chief executive, said the investment has helped support the growing importance of protecting web content and brand presence on the web.
"This type of forward-looking approach is particularly important for media and entertainment companies," Feitelberg said. "Investing in Gilian helps establish Steamboat at the forefront of this wave."
The funds will be used to expand the company's technology and market initiatives, with an increased focus on industries that include media, government, healthcare and finance.
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