LA Venture: Marcy Venture Partners’ Charlie Hanna on Culture-Informed Investment

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.
Charlie Hanna
Image courtesy of Marcy Venture Partners

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Marcy Venture Partners (MVP) investor Charlie Hanna talks about celebrity investments and how cultural trends inform the group’s investment strategies.

Jay-Z, Jay Brown and Larry Marcus founded MVP—named after the Marcy Projects where Jay-Z grew up—in 2018 and have since grown the fund from $30 million to $900 million assets under management (AUM).


The company is focused on consumer culture and positive impact as it considers inclusivity, accessibility, empowerment, multiculturalism, health and wellness, Hanna said. Having access to Jay-Z and Jay Brown’s network through their entertainment agency Roc Nation helps MVP keep a close eye on cultural trends and see which products are taking off.

MVP is focused on leading Series A and B funding rounds. Its Fund II typically writes checks of between $5 million and $15 million and eyes companies with high potential for growth and virality that appeal to younger demographics. Additionally, Hanna said, over 70% of the entrepreneurs MVP has invested in are women or people of color.

“It's not to say that we have a mandate to invest in women or people of color,” Hanna said. “It's really that, if you are building a consumer brand in the 21st century and you don't have some diversity on your founding team, you're just straight-up not going to be as successful.”

MVP has invested in companies ranging from the maker of the Lomi Home Compost Machine to Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage X Fenty. Because the consumer market moves so quickly, Hanna said MVP performs qualitative and quantitative research on groups of college and high school students to determine whether products are working with that influential audience.

“Because they're going to be the next, biggest consumer. And where the largest share of wallet, you know, is headed,” he said.

Much of MVP’s work highlights how celebrity investments can help companies scale quickly. Simply posting photos with products or spreading the word among friends can help the companies they work with reach large audiences. MVP views talent as people who are also brands, adding that Jay-Z wanted MVP to back entrepreneurs who can follow in his brand-building footsteps.

“One of the things that I think is really interesting that if you look at some of the billionaires in music—whether it's Jay-Z, whether it's Kanye West, whether it's Rihanna—the funny thing about all three of them is none of them made their billion dollars in music,” Hanna said. “They all made it in brand building.”

Hanna, who previously worked at talent agencies, said more venture capital firms are beginning to specialize in helping artists invest their own money instead of taking endorsement deals with companies.

“I actually think that venture capital as a profession is a lot like being a talent manager,” he said. “When you're a talent agent, you're providing an artist with the resources, the networks, the expertise to realize their creative vision—whether that's an album or tour, or movie or play, whatever it might be. As a venture capitalist, you are providing a founder with the resources, the expertise, the capital, the co-investors to realize their creative vision, their company.”

Click the link above to hear the full episode, and subscribe to LA Venture on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA editorial intern Kristin Snyder contributed to this post.

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