Troy Carter (Photo by The Collaborationist/Corbis via Getty Images)

Fortune: How Troy Carter Became A Silicon Valley Force

The Atom Factory founder and CEO, Cross Culture Ventures General Partner, and Spotify Head of Creator Services, might be the busiest tech investor in the game.  Troy talks with Fortune about how these worlds overlap and help him to find success and influence as a venture capital general partner. “These days, when Carter isn’t at Spotify, he’s nurturing Cross Culture and Atom Factory, his talent management firm, which has become a family affair.”  Read the article here.


Cross Culture Ventures Is Changing the VC Game by Putting Culture First

First Republic Bank talks Cultural Investing with the Cross Culture Ventures General Partners.  In its first year alone, the small team at Cross Culture Ventures is already helping to move the needle for its portfolio of startups.  CCV has focused on cultural investing: looking for seismic cultural shifts and then supporting early-stage startups working within those spaces. While the average initial investment size is $500k, the network and resources that Cross Culture brings via its partnership with Carter’s talent management and entertainment company, Atom Factory, make the investment that much more valuable.  Check out the conversation here.


The Mag: Havas Profiles Our James Andrews, CEO of SMASHD Group

The SMASHD Group, a brand innovation consultancy that comprises an editorial platform (, a startup accelerator (Smashd Labs), and a growth consultancy (Smashd Brand Innovations)…”The rate of change in how people are getting information, making purchase decisions, and making something trendy is now so fast. And the decisions are happening on platforms that marketers don’t necessarily live in every day. So in order to survive, brands have to actually live in the culture.”  Read the interview here.


Mayvenn & Essence Collaborate For Men Attempt To Do Black Womens’ Hair

Thou shall not mess with Black Women’s hair, should be a commandment.  Case in point, the folks over at Mayvenn, the luxury hair extention company, pulled together a group of gentlemen for a funny little challenge called: “Men Style Black Womens’ Hair For The First Time.”  Check it out here.

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Behind the Brilliance with Marlon Nichols

In this episode Marlon Nichols, founding partner  at Cross Culture Ventures, talks with Lisa Nicole Bell about his career path to venture capital, his thoughts on what makes founders great, how he thinks about new opportunities, and much more.  Listen to the conversation here.

Zach Braff arrives at the GQ Men of the Year Party at the Chateau Marmont on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Gimlet Media’s Podcast Series, Startup, to Become a Television Series

Start Up is based on the podcast Start Up by Alex Blumberg. It is a show about all the things that happen — the good, the bad and the ugly — when a guy (Braff) in his mid-30s with a wife and two kids makes the crazy decision to quit his good job and dive into the brave new world of starting a business. Tarses and Braff executive produce with Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox as well as Gimlet Media’s Chris Giliberti, Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber.  Read the piece here.

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mSurvey Secures Latest Strategic Investment From Safaricom

“We believe culture is the catalyst for winning solutions and mSurvey fits perfectly into our thesis as mobile messaging becomes the primary platform for communication around the world,” said Marlon Nichols, Founder & General Partner at Cross Culture Ventures. “mSurvey is disrupting traditional research models by using a medium that transcends borders, demographics and a range of industries, capturing the voice of the consumer like never before.” Read the article on Yahoo Finance here.

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Responding to the demand for reliable data collection in Africa, mSurvey raises seed funding

The seed funding was led by Cross Culture Ventures with participation from Safaricom and the Virgin Group’s Alpha Angels.  “We’ll use the funds to drive value add to merchants using Safaricom’s Lipa Na M-Pesa [bill pay and digital payments] service and to further fuel growth in Africa and other emerging markets”- Kenfield Griffith (mSurvey’s CEO).  Read the full article here.

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Thrive Market Opens New Distribution Center, Brings 400 New Jobs to Reno Area

Thrive market’s mission is to make a healthy lifestyle affordable and easy. The company will be investing 3.5 million dollars into their operations to provide healthy food and products throughout the west coast.  “Business climate is going to continue to attract great e-commerce businesses and our 400 jobs are going to have a real impact,” says Co-Founder Nick Green.  Watch the video here.


Cross Culture Ventures portco, mSurvey wants to solve Africa’s data challenge. Here’s how

The technology provides a direct channel for companies and organisations to gather insight into people – particularly in emerging markets where this data is often lacking. …mSurvey has worked organisations such as Procter & Gamble, McKinsey & Company, Harvard and Kenya Commercial Bank – & has been backed by telecom partners such as Safaricom and Airtel…in the past six months mSurvey has interacted with 1.58 million consumers. Read the full article here.


Lendstreet – Technology To Save Millions of Americans from Predatory Loans

Lendstreet promises to work with consumers who have huge debts financed at high interest rates. Payments are tailored so that they are affordable…this steady stream of income allows LendStreet to solicit investors for these loans.  Read the full piece here.

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Cross Culture Ventures Co-Founder Troy Carter named to Oprah’s Super Soul 100

The Super Soul 100 is A collection of 100 awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity.  “The higher you go the lower you bow” – Troy Carter.  Read the profile here.


Airtel and other customers speak about the value that mSurvey Creates for them

mSurvey is leveraging unique mobile technology to allow brands to actively and effectively communicate with the 1B+ people (67% mobile penetration) on the African continent.   Airtel engaged mSurvey to help create interactive and individual relationships with its 5M customers at scale.  Watch the video here.

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Inc. Magazine on Sidestep, The Company Reinventing How Bands Sell Merch

It is notoriously difficult for bands to make money. Album sales are down. Royalties from song-streaming services are abysmal, giving artists little pay for all but the best-performing tracks…One unexpected bright spot in that concert-and-music-festival ecosystem is t-shirts. And tote bags. And stickers. Yes, that merch table.  Read the full article here.


Inc. on How Hingeto Brought in $1.4 Million–and Marshawn Lynch–in Less Than 4 Months

Inc. Magazine covers Hingeto’s $1.9M seed round and product launch. “Hingeto is geared toward clothing, unlike Kickstarter,” explained Grammage, the Beast Mode store-owner. “Brands can launch a whole collection,” Robinson explains. “Kickstarter is really for one product, and you wouldn’t make that an extension of your site. In that sense, we’re fundamentally different.” Read the article here.

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Afrostream to introduce more African movies and series in France with Bouygues Telecom

Video on Demand service Afrostream and French telecom operator Bouygues Telecom signed a partnership, which enables the distribution of more African, Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean movies and series to 2 Million households in France.  Read the story here.

Founders Network

Marlon Nichols talked with Founders Network about the intersection of global culture and consumer behavior.

Cross Culture Ventures predicts consumer behavior by studying global culture.  This approach is unique to us and based on portfolio performance is an effective way to select companies and make investments – says Nichols.  Read the conversation here.


Inc. on Sidestep as an innovative answer to live event ‘merch’ sales

‘Merch’ represents a significant portion of revenue for live event entertainers.  It doesn’t make sense that such an important part of the business has gone without innovation for so long.  Listen to Inc. Uncensored discuss Sidestep as a much needed solution.

IMG_0343 chats with Cross Culture Ventures founding partner, Marlon Nichols

Meet Marlon Nichols, General Partner at Cross Culture Ventures.  Strategically partnered with Atom Factory and SmashD Group, Cross Culture approaches tech differently.  See the full conversation here.


Skurt introduces a new revenue model for Fleet, changing the business of car rentals

Since starting with Skurt, utilization has gone up 10% to 15%…average rental length with Skurt is 4.5 days, similar to Skurt’s overall average…Skurt is fueling business growth…opportunity to get into markets I don’t even have, says the president of MPG Car Rental.  Read the details here!


Bloomberg Advantage: On Thrive Market Raising Funds

GUEST: Erin Zlomek Editor Bloomberg VC Wrap Discussing the week’s venture capital news, including Thrive Market, an online wholesaler of health food and home products, raising $111 million from from Invus, Greycroft Partners, E-Ventures and Cross Culture Ventures.  Listen to it here.

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Cross Culture Ventures company, Skurt, Shortlisted as Technology to Enable Suburban Living

According to the lead scientist for the Global Cities Program, the faster we are able the travel the more it will lead to sprawl. Also, 66% of millennials want to live in the suburbs…  Read the full article here.


Skurt recognized by Auto Rental News as a leader in the disruption of the rental car industry.

Three new companies that don’t own fleet are renting your cars through their apps — and pulling traditional car rental into the new mobility agenda.  Read the full story here.


Cross Culture Ventures portfolio company Thrive Market raises $111 million

Thrive Market, an online grocer, raises $111m in a new round of funding.  Cross Culture Ventures is thrilled with Thrive Market’s progress and is proud to continue to support the team.  Read the New York Times coverage here.


Meet Diishan Imira, the Black Hair King of Silicon Valley

Essence did a great job covering our portfolio company Mayvenn and its Founder/ CEO, Diishan Imira.  Read the piece here.

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Havas’ Global chief executive, Andrew Benett, discusses the group’s new venture with Atom Factory: the SMASHD Group.

Watch the video here.


Cross Culture Ventures warmly welcomes James Andrews to the Atom Factory family.

Mr. Andrews will be leading Smashed Group, the startup accelerator, brand agency, and editorial platform that powers and supports Cross Culture Ventures’ portfolio companies.  Per Marlon Nichols, Cross Culture Ventures co-founder and General partner,  “James brings the next level of culture integration into everything that we already do.  Things just got exponentially more interesting for our fund and portco family.”   Read the press release here.

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Cross Culture Ventures co-founder & general partner, Troy Carter, talks with Forbes about disruption, hustle, & the secrets to smart investing.

“Coming from the music business and seeing the transition from artists to fans, fans to consumers, it’s really about understanding the psychology of why people want to associate with your brand.”  Read more & watch the video here.

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Cross Culture Ventures general partner, Troy Carter, tapped by Spotify to head artist relations.

Cross Culture is excited to grow its influence through Troy Carter and this expanded relationship with Spotify.  On his Facebook page, Carter reaffirmed his commitment to Cross Culture Ventures.

“…through Smashd Labs and Cross Culture VC, I’ll still continue investing in great founders that have the ability to deliver next-wave disruption to culture.”  Read Troy Carter’s full statement here.  Read the New York Times coverage here.

Thrive Market Aims to Make Natural Products More Affordable

Our portfolio company, Thrive Market, has built a business focusing on healthy living and making natural and organic groceries and products more affordable. Co-founders and Co-CEO’s, Nick Green and Gunnar Lovelace joined “CBS This Morning” to discuss the company’s mission. Read more here.


LendStreet Lands $28 Million Funding to Help Consumer Debt

Our portfolio company, Lendstreet, a financial technology and services company, recently raised $28 million which will allow the company to help more consumers restructure their debt and reclaim financial health. Read more here.


Who Said Black Founders Can’t Build a Billion Dollar Company?

Troy Carter responds to institutional investors who prejudicially question his investment strategy, by declaring “who said African American founders can’t build a billion dollar company?” Read more here.


SideStep is Making it Easier for Musicians to Sell More Merchandise

Forbes covers Cross Culture Ventures portfolio company, Sidestep, and highlights the company’s recent partnership with Ticketmaster and their efforts to make buying merch more fun. Read more here.

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Cultural Investing at Startup Grind Global 2016

Marlon Nichols discusses global trends and shifts in consumer behavior and the arbitrage opportunity that exists. Watch the full video here.

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Beyoncé, Kale, and the Event Merch Opportunity

Cross Culture Ventures Associate, Shani Taylor, discusses our investment in Sidestep. Sidestep is a startup making it easier to be a fan by redefining the live event merchandise experience. Read more here.


From Jamaica to Europe to Silicon Valley: Crossing Cultures with Venture Capitalist Marlon Nichols

In their most recent publication, The Searchlights Project profiled Marlon Nichols and his successful journey breaking into venture capital and building a “great firm.” In the interview, Marlon discusses his decision to work abroad, his time at Intel Capital, and the genesis of Cross Culture Ventures. Read more here.


Investing Millions in Companies Led by Black Men

Only 1% of VC-funded startup founders are African American. Cross Culture Ventures was highlighted by Black Enterprise as one early stage venture capital firm seeking to change that narrative. Read more here.

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Webinar: Startup Fundraising 101

Early Growth Financial Services, in partnership with Black Founders, invites Marlon Nichols to host a webinar on startup fundraising. With more than 300 registrants, this webinar was in high demand, informative, and well attended. Watch the full video here.


Diversity in Tech Startups Front and Center at Upfront Summit 2016

Troy Carter speaks on a panel with Beatriz Acevedo (mitú), Magic Johnson (Magic Johnson Enterprises) and Tristan Walker (Walker and Co. Brands) at Upfront Summit 2016. Watch the full video here.


Marlon Nichols Recognized for Spearheading Change in Tech Investing

Silicon Republic named Marlon Nichols as one of “26 great people spearheading change in tech investment,” for being a champion of diversity and advancing a new model of tech investing. Read more here.

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Gimlet Media Joins the Cross Culture Ventures Family

Cross Culture Ventures welcomes the newest member of our portfolio family, Gimlet Media, the HBO of podcasting.  Listen to Gimlet Media talk through their decision to raise Series A financing and how the process played out. Listen here.


Interview with CCV Partner Troy Carter: ‘Winter Always Comes’

Studio 1.0 host Emily Chang sits down with Cross Culture Ventures Partner and Atom Factory Founder/CEO Troy Carter to discuss his background, Hollywood career, and investment successes. On whether Silicon Valley is in a bubble, Carter says “winter always comes.” Watch the full video here.

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Lady Gaga’s Longtime Manager Troy Carter Now Cultivating New Tech Talent

Cross Culture Ventures partner, Troy Carter, has a knack for picking both music and tech talent.  Our accelerator, Smashd Labs’, showcased its first batch of companies last week during its inaugural demo day. Read more

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Culture is Product Management

Cross Culture Ventures Associate, Shani Taylor discusses the role consumer culture can play in new product development and management. Read more


Silicon Valley VCs Visit Durham to Talk Opportunity for “Culturally-Driven” Startups

Cross Culture Ventures, Impact America Fund partners discuss investment in hair extension startup Mayvenn and minority-focused business at Black Wall Street Homecoming. Read more


HBCUMade: Interview With Trevor Thomas, Partner at Cross Culture Ventures

Cross Culture Venture partner, Trevor Thomas, chats with HBCU to Startup, a platform to connect and facilitate personal connections between alumni and students of historically black college and universities (HBCUs) and tech companies. Read more

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Viacom, Afrostream Ink Content Partnership

BET France, the newly-created Gallic channel of the Viacom-owned network, has inked a deal with Tonjé Bakang’s Afrostream, an SVOD service targeting French-speaking auds with African-American, Afro-Caribbean and African series and movies. Read more


Afrostream Signs Multi-Year Deal With Sony Pictures Television

Afrostream, the streaming platform dedicated to Black movies and skeins, has inked a multi-year deal with Sony Pictures Television. Read more


Mayvenn raises $10 million for its hair extension empire

Earlier this week, I spent 15 minutes chatting with famed Silicon Valley investor Ben Horowitz about women’s hair extensions. Read more


Thrive Market Brings Much Needed Jobs and Healthy Food to the Midwest With Opening of Second Warehouse

Thrive Market, a quickly growing online retailer selling only high-quality healthy foods, vitamins, home goods, and beauty supplies, will be opening a new Batesville, IN warehouse. The new 375,000 ft2 facility, a former General Electric plant, will bring over 300 jobs to the town of 6,500 in just six months. Read more


Darden Alum Employs Wall Street Tactics to Help Americans in Debt

Jerry Nemorin has witnessed firsthand two of the most monumental disasters of the last 10 years – one financial and one physical. Read more

Troy Carter’s SMASHD Labs accelerator selects first batch of startups

The SMASHD Labs accelerator is designed to offer startups at the center of technology, entertainment, and culture access to tools, resources, and individuals to accelerate company growth. Cross Culture Ventures is one of these very resources. Moreover, this relationship with SMASHD Labs offers Cross Culture early access to promising startups. Cross Culture is currently evaluating a few of the accepted startups for potential investment.

Marlon Nichols Brings Cultural Investing Narrative to the Mainstage

At the third annual Platform Summit, Marlon Nichols clearly outlined the value and arbitrage opportunity of cultural investing during a keynote presentation. Nichols also spoke on a panel titled, “The New Capital is Social.”

Troy Carter speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt

Troy Carter at TechCrunch Disrupt on “sleepy industries” and lagging innovation

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Marlon Nichols named to “40 under 40: Tech Diversity Silicon Valley”

“At Cross Culture, our ethos is that culture drives brands and brands define the world that we live in. And in particular, diverse cultures have an outside impact on popular culture. What really drives not only me but also my co-founders Troy Carter and Trevor Thomas (who’s also MLT), is that we get to empower entrepreneurs who look like us, who  are solving problems that are meaningful to us. So, we are solving challenges for the neighborhoods that we grew up in or that are similar to them, as opposed to the typical types of investments that happen every day in Silicon Valley and in venture capital.” – Marlon Nichols

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Cross Culture Ventures Partner, Troy Carter tapped to join Shark Tank

Troy Carter joined Ashton Kutcher and Chris Sacca as a guest Shark, appearing on the October 9th airing of this season’s Emmy Award-winning, Shark Tank. Carter expressed excitement about serving as a guest Shark “because of the show’s ability to reach Americans outside the Bay Area and New York hubs…from less privileged or minority backgrounds.” Carter’s appearance on Shark Tank garnered high-level exposure from the show’s seven million viewers, to both Carter and Cross Culture Ventures–a terrific trade for a 24-hour commitment.

Carter was also tapped as a mentor for both the Dodgers and Disney Accelerator Programs.

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Marlon Nichols presented at the first annual Tech Inclusion Conference

Marlon discussed the intersection of tech and diversity as well as increasing access to capital for entrepreneurs.