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+, 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.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Pasadena's Numerade Believes Tutoring Is The Solution To Online Schooling Setbacks

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

kid looking at computer screen for online school
Andria Moore

Nationally, kids whose schools met online in the 2020-2021 year performed 13% lower in math and 8% lower in reading compared with kids who had in-person schooling.

Nhon Ma, co-founder of online tutoring platform Numerade believes that this issue will continue to persist unless more students gain access to tutoring outside the classroom.

Read moreShow less

Kroma Wellness Founder Lisa Odenweller on Breaking Into the Nutrition Industry

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Kroma Wellness Founder Lisa Odenweller
Image courtesy of Kroma Wellness

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Lisa Odenweller opens up about her superfood nutrition company, Kroma Wellness, and the difficulties of breaking into the wellness industry.

Odenweller began her career in the wellness space in 2011 when she opened a chain of superfood cafes around Southern California called Beaming Wellness.

Read moreShow less