MaC Venture Capital Raises Inaugural $103 Million Seed Fund
Majority Black-owned firm founded by Adrian Fenty, Marlon Nichols, Michael Palank, and Charles D. King applies cultural investment thesis to invest in technology startups
MaC Venture Capital, a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology startups, announced it has raised its inaugural $103 million seed-stage fund. A majority Black-owned firm based in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, the firm employs a cultural investment framework, using business and consumer trend research to identify companies that are leveraging shifts in culture and behavior. It backs companies across a broad range of business sectors, including fintech, e-commerce and marketplaces, interactive media, connectivity, enterprise SaaS, space and aerospace, logistics, and more.
The four founding general partners are seasoned operator and venture capitalist Marlon Nichols; former Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty; former William Morris Agency talent agent and operator, advisor, and investor Michael Palank; and MACRO founder and CEO Charles D. King, who was the first Black partner at a major Hollywood talent agency. MaC Venture Capital is the result of a 2019 merger between Cross Culture Ventures, co-founded by Nichols, and M Ventures, co-founded by Fenty, Palank, and King.
The general partners’ diverse backgrounds in technology, business, government, entertainment, and finance allow the firm to accelerate entrepreneurs on the verge of their breakthrough moment. The firm supports founders across a range of important functional areas, including operations strategy, brand building, recruiting, and sales development. MaC Venture Capital also takes a wider lens than traditional VCs on entrepreneurs and the kinds of backgrounds and demographics they represent. The firm’s current portfolio is invested in 76% Black, Latinx, and female founders.
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“Although we are investing at a founder’s earliest stage, with a minimum viable product and early traction, we ground ourselves in seeking big opportunities — companies that have the potential to scale quickly, change an industry, and bring something net-new to society. We look for ambitious founders who want to build billion-dollar category leaders,” said Adrian Fenty, managing general partner.
“We evaluate investments based on the merits and potential of their ideas, not just resumes, to find value in founders where others might not. This brings us differentiated deal flow and the ability to look around corners to identify white space in areas that are often overlooked. Not only do we have the opportunity to really change the way capital is allocated by investing in more Black and Brown founders, we can also power companies that are closing the opportunity gap for large groups of people and create more diversity across a wide range of verticals,” said Marlon Nichols, managing general partner.
“With MaC Venture Capital, our mission is to invest in visionary founders who are building the future we want to see. And a big part of that is thinking about culture and how it’s shifting, changing behaviors, and eventually guiding new social norms. Our cultural investment lens stays ahead of that, leveraging research to identify how consumers and companies will spend their time and money in the future and looking for investment opportunities that will ultimately participate in those shifts,” said Michael Palank, general partner.
“I don’t think there’s another fund that looks anything like us,” said Charles D. King, general partner. “We represent a very diverse range of perspectives, skill sets, and networks, bridging Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., and we leverage that to support our founders. And we have the ability to broker mission-critical introductions that can cement a company’s trajectory, whether in technology, business, politics, entertainment, or finance.”
The firm intends to make 40 investments with this new fund, with an average investment of $1 million. The fund’s limited partners include Foot Locker, Inc., Goldman Sachs, Greenspring Associates, Bank of America, Howard University, MacArthur Foundation, the University of Michigan, State of Michigan Retirement System, and Mitch and Freada Kapor, among others.
“We are thrilled to partner with MaC Venture Capital in their mission to build a world class venture franchise that closes gaps while driving value for investors,” said Hunter Somerville, general partner at Greenspring Associates. “By embracing shifting cultural trends and their intersection with technology, the team will be well positioned as an early investor and partner to world class diverse founders. The MaC Venture Capital team differentiates their capital through advisement, deep relationship building and their expertise honed in previous roles as media, entertainment and government executives, along with many years at their prior respective venture capital firms. We are excited to join them in this important journey with the new fund.”
“We are thrilled to join MaC Venture Capital in this key milestone toward building a new kind of venture capital firm that is anchored around a cultural investment thesis and supports transformative companies and dynamic founders,” said Daniel Feder, Managing Director with the University of Michigan Investment Office. “Their unified understanding of technology, media, entertainment, and government, along with a successful track record of investing, give them deep insights into burgeoning shifts in culture and behavior.”
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