'There's a Real Energy in This City': The Chainsmokers on LA's Tech Scene

It seems everyone wants to be a VC these days, so why can't the Chainsmokers join the line-up?

Earlier this year, the electronic DJ and production duo, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, announced the debut of their $35 million early-stage fund.

Being a DJ and a startup VC would appear to have little in common, but at a lunchtime panel on the first day of the dot.LA Summit, the pair said there are actually a number of parallels.

"We built the Chainsmokers from nothing and so we think of ourselves as founders, too," said Taggart, who added that personal chemistry is key in both music and startups. "The luckiest thing was to meet each other."


That luck has turned into a lucrative career that will be hard to top in the startup world. The Chainsmokers became the highest-earning DJ act in the world last year, earning over $46 million in a single year, according to Forbes.

Chainsmokers youtu.be

Taggart also talked about their decision to sell their entire catalog of 32 songs last year, saying they got "a great price" (which was not disclosed.) He also is not sure their music will be worth as much in years to come because he sees music tastes as increasingly fickle.

"I don't know if kids ten years from now will listen," Taggart said.

Their fund has a name, Mantis, more befitting a band. Mark Cuban, Keith Rabois, Jim Coulter Ron Conway and dot.LA Chairman Spencer Rascoff, who moderated the panel, are all investors.

One of Mantis' first investments was in the L.A. based fitness app FitOn, and Pall said he's excited about joining the city's tech scene.

"There's a real energy in this city that people are beginning to take notice of," Pall said. "We're pumped to be a part of it."

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

We are so excited to announce our next startup pitch showcase on Thursday, March 4, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. PT, celebrating female founders.

We are looking for interesting Southern California female-founded startups in any industry. Submissions will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Two angel investors will be judging the showcase hosted by dot.LA's Chief Correspondent & Host and Head of Video Kelly O'Grady. Please contact us with any questions. Thank you!

Nominate your company here >>

Register here - space is limited!

As Thanksgiving approached, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti implored residents to stay home and halt all nonessential travel as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed.

But on Thanksgiving Day, Peter Pham, one of L.A.'s most prominent early-stage investors and the co-founder of Science Inc, a Santa Monica startup studio and early-stage venture fund that manages over $100 million and recently launched a $310.5 million SPAC, posted a selfie of himself atop Las Vegas' High Roller ferris wheel.

He was clutching a can of Liquid Death, the bad boy-themed canned water brand that has improbably become Science's buzziest startup. Pham guzzles six cans a day, because he says he does not trust municipal tap water.

"I'm not afraid of dying," Pham told me recently. "There's risk for everything and COVID is a risk that I feel very confident in my ability to deal with. I could be wrong and that's OK. I am OK if I fucked up and I die from it."

Read more Show less

Xos Inc., a North Hollywood-based electric vehicle company, announced on Monday it plans to go public through a merger with NextGen Acquisition Corp.

The companies expect to start trading as "XOS" on the Nasdaq by the second quarter of 2021 following a transaction that values the combined entity at $2 billion.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS

Trending