For the past few years rapper Chamillionaire has been keeping a secret. He has been quietly working in the tech startup scene, from speaking on social media engagement in the music industry to hanging with Y Combinator tastemakers.
Now Chamillionaire has become an entrepreneur in resident at Upfront Ventures, a venture capital firm run by Mark Suster. Cham has also been investing in various tech firms. In fact, he was one of the earliest investors in Maker Studios, an online video network founded in 2009 and sold to Disney for $500 million last year, reports Complex.Over at Upfront Ventures, Cham has been working as an advisor.
In a letter, Suster explains the Cham connection.
“Five-and-a-half years ago I first met Chamillionaire at a tech conference in LA. I saw him on stage at the event talking about how he used social media to engage audiences. This was 2009 and his understanding of audience engagement was far beyond anything I was hearing from most people at that time,” writes Suster. “I reached out after the event to learn more. We started hanging out a bit and discussing technology and entrepreneurship. What Cham rarely tells people – he’s both private and humble – is that he started making some small co-investments with me in tech firms starting with Maker Studios where he was one of the earliest investors.”
Adds Suster, “Chamillionaire has a way more refined sense of what customer behavior is like than most ivy league graduates with nice Powerpoint slides that I meet. If you want to get schooled by a guy who’s done it all I suggest watching this video interview I did with him that has already been watched 55,000 times… A while back Chamillionaire started telling me he wanted to immerse himself even more in the tech world – learning to build products, studying different business models and committing himself to being a true tech entrepreneur.”
Investing and becoming an owner is part of controlling your own financial destiny. And with the increased focus these days on STEM areas, Chamillionaire is definitely dipping into the right places.