Venture Unlocked Episode 15 – Marlon Nichols
Venture Unlocked ep 15 – Marlon Nichols from MaC Ventures on VC firm mergers, funding diversity, and his relationship with LP’s.
On our final episode of the year, I’m thrilled to share my conversation with Marlon Nichols, Managing General Partner at MaC Ventures. After graduating from Northeastern University, Marlon spend several years in various consultant and operational roles before joining Intel Capital in 2011.
After five years at Intel, Marlon co-founded Cross Culture Ventures along with Troy Carter, a successful media manager that managed the careers of artists such as Lady Gaga and John Legend, and made investments in startups such as Uber and Spotify. Given the shared vision of Marlon and Troy, Cross Culture Ventures made a name for themselves with their cultural investing thesis that focused on companies centered in the convergence of global popular culture and technology.
In 2019, Cross Culture merged with M Ventures to create MaC Ventures, one of the few venture partnership “mergers” we’ve seen, where he and the team invest in “ technology companies that create infectious products that benefit from shifts in cultural trends and behaviors in an increasingly diverse global marketplace”.
In this episode, Marlon and I discuss the following topics:
00:54 – Marlon’s winding journey into venture
05:23 – The opportunity he saw to invest in diversity
07:40 – How he prepared to launch Cross Culture
8:07 – His unique point of view and value proposition in the venture industry
10:12 – What led to Marlon’s decision to merge Cross Culture with M Ventures
16:29 – How did his LPs react to the merger of the firms?
17:52 – What are the primary things he sees LPs care about the most?
23:02 – The MaC view toward adding values to portfolio founders.
28:11 – How to drive value to LP’s outside of just returns.
30:05 – Why firms struggle to invest in diversity
37:20- Marlon’s biggest career mistake in venture