Jay Z Teams Up With Venture Capitalist To Launch Fund

Written by Ann Brown


Jay-Z is taking another tech plunge.

The hip-hop mogul and investor has partnered with a venture capitalist to launch yet another fund — Marcy Venture Capital Partners — with Roc Nation President Jay Brown and Silicon Valley veteran Larry Marcus of San Francisco-based Walden Venture Capital.

In 2017, Roc Nation announced that Jay-Z would be launching his own venture capital firm called Arrive to work with early-stage companies.

“Early last year, Axios reported that the Carters were looking to launch their own venture capital fund in partnership with San Francisco-based Sherpa Capital, which had invested in Uber and Airbnb, but the move was put on hold between Roc Nation launching its own startup platform and ‘troubles at Sherpa,’” Black Enterprise reported.

This is not Jay-Z’s first venture into tech. Besides his music streaming service, Tidal, there have been other ventures. “The rapper-turned-businessman has already backed several startups, including luggage maker Away, private plane company JetSmarter and fintech unicorn Robinhood,” Pitchbook reported.

There has not been any details released on what the focus of the fund will be, or even the size of the fund. But, according to Black Enterprise, Brown’s previous startup investments may offer some ideas. The business partners participated in Uber’s Series B, at a $300 million pre-money valuation early in 2017. They have also invested in brokerage platform Robinhood, luggage company Away, private jet company JetSmarter, and life insurance startup Ethos.”

It seems the name, Marcy Venture Capital Partners, is most likely a nod  to the Marcy Housing Projects in Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up. This is similar to what Nas did when naming his QueensBridge Venture Partners.

There is a growing list of hip-hop artists involved in the tech sector.

Snoop Dogg in 2015 debuted Casa Verde Capital, centered around early-stage marijuana startups. He also has investments in Reddit, Robinhood, and Philz Coffee.

“Nicki Minaj invested in Music Messenger. Will Smith joined Andreessen Horowitz and Madrona Venture Partners as an investor in Julep, a Seattle-based e-commerce beauty brand. He has also invested in Fancy and Chromatik,” Black Enterprise reported.

Rapper Chamillionaire actually put hip hop on hold to become an entrepreneur-in-residence at Upfront Capital. Meanwhile, Sean “Diddy” Combs invested in Tiny App. And in 2013, T.I. invested in Yopima, an app that lets users find trending spots based on recommendations from your friends. Rap icon M.C. Hammer has long been involved in Silicon Valley. Among his investments are Bump Technologies, Square, and Flipboard. Drake also invested in Omni, which is an on-demand storage app. Seven years ago, rapper/actor Queen Latifah invested in Indaba, a web-based company that provides a music collaboration environment for musicians.

FILE – In this Jan. 27, 2018, file photo, honoree Jay-Z speaks onstage at the 2018 Pre-Grammy Gala And Salute To Industry Icons at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York. Jay-Z must explain why he’s dodging a subpoena rather than answering questions related to a financial investigation of a consumer brand company that bought his Rocawear clothing line, a judge says. In an order made public Thursday, May 3, U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe instructed the performer and entrepreneur, whose birth name is Shawn Carter, to appear in a New York courtroom next Tuesday to explain himself. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP, File)