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+, 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.

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