LA Venture Podcast: Dreamers VC Partner Vik Sasi on the World of Celebrity and Influencer Investors

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Vik Sasi

On this episode of L.A. Venture, meet Vik Sasi, a partner at Dreamers VC, a $55 million fund co-founded by actor and musician Will Smith. This is an especially relevant episode for startups who might be thinking of working with influencers.

Vik explains the world of influencers, talent fees, production fees, and how warrants are effective when working with influencers.


Working with influencers and celebrity-led funds can greatly increase a company's brand awareness and reach communities that would otherwise be difficult to reach.

"The Smith family is north of 150 million unique followers, and they can also help reach a lot of underrepresented demographics that don't necessarily respond as well to traditional channels that startups are using to advertise," Vik says.

But, unlike most other VCs, Vik does not aim to be a founder's first call at 2 a.m. when something goes wrong.

"In the back of the founders mind, ... they should always have this sort of ratio of 'what is this investors' likely value add to check size'," he says. "because at the end of the day, most influencer funds, they're not leading deals."

Vik offers insights on the celebrity world, including the difference between influencers and creators, what to keep in mind about how celebrities invest and why, and how warrants can be a good tool for holding influencers accountable.

Vik also offers some thoughts into the increasingly overlapping worlds of venture capital and celebrity investors in L.A. In particular, he sees an influx of successful founders who "still couldn't find a date on Bumble or Hinge" moving from the Bay Area to run into celebrities who have global reach but realize they're making much less than many VCs — and so pick up investing.

"And so," he says, "I think that's maybe spawned some of the overlap between Silicon Valley and Hollywood."

Vik Sasi a partner at Dreamers VC, a venture fund co-founded by actor and musician Will Smith.

Want to hear more of L.A. Venture? Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

GrayMatter Is Building Industrial Robots To Take Over the Jobs Humans Hate

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

​GrayMatter robotics working
Andria Moore courtesy of GrayMatter

GrayMatter Robotics, a startup based in Gardena (and definitely not a “Breaking Bad” reference, the founders assure us) is looking to disrupt the industrial finishing and sanding industry by programming robotic arms with artificial intelligence software to automate this labor.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending