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Jay Z launches his own venture firm called Arrive

Arrive will focus on early-stage startups, helping them with branding and marketing

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
March 6, 2017 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/490d

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Jay Z is no stranger to the world of technology, having spent time both as an investor, putting his own money into companies that include Uber, JetSmarter and Julep, and an entrepreneurbuying music streaming service Aspiro, the owner of Tidal, in 2015..

Now, he's taking his involvement in tech a step further by launching his own venture capital firm, it was announced on Monday by Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by Jay Z in 2008.

Called Arrive, Roc Nation refers to it as a "startup platform." The plan is work with early-stage startups, providing them with services to help them with branding, as well as business development, along with advisory and capital.

So far, the firm doesn't have a fund to invest out of, but Roc Nation makes it clear that there are plans to raise one in order to "among other activities, support existing portfolio companies through their subsequent growth stages."

Arrive is the result of a collaboration with early-stage venture capital firm Primary Venture Partners and GlassBridge Asset Management. Primary will be a venture advisor to Arrive, while GlassBridge will provide institutional and operational support.

The emphasis on helping companies with branding is potentially the most interesting aspect of this venture, and what could set Arrive apart from other VC firms. Roc Nation has a history of working and building up young talent, and it is now looking to bring that same expertise to the companies that it puts money into. 

The company has an expansive list of potential resources to help its companies, including a record label, a talent agency, a touring and concert production company, as well as a music, film, and television production company and a music publishing house. Artists signed with Roc Nation include Rihanna, Big Sean and Willow Smith. 

"ARRIVE was created to leverage our experience and resources in building brands, developing consumer facing businesses, managing artists and representing athletes. We've opened that diversified, global range of expertise to a new vertical: entrepreneurs and their early stage businesses," Neil Sirni, Head of New Ventures at Roc Nation, said in a statement. 

News of Jay Z forming his own venture firm first started spreading at the end of last month. 

So far there is no indication as to how big the fund will be, what types of companies Arrive will invest in, how many companies it plans to fund nor how much it plans to invest. VatorNews reached out to Roc Nation for additional comment, and we will update this story if we learn more.

For Roc Nation, Arrive seems to be just one part of larger plans for investing in companies, as it also says that it "intends to formalize its focus on social impact investing later in 2017."

Musicians in venture capital

Jay Z is far from the first musician to break into investing, or to form his own venture capital firm.

The list includes Will Smith, who founded Overbrook Entertainment with James Lassiter in the late 90's. In recent years, it has begun making investments in companies like Loom, BLackJet, and JibJab.

U2 frontman Bono, who seems to have his hand in everything, is the co-founder of  private equity firm Elevation Partners, a firm focused on large-scale investments in media, entertainment and technology businesses. It has nearly $1.9 billion in committed capital.

It has some pretty impressive portfolio companies, including Facebook, Palm, Yelp, ShareThrough and Forbes Media.

While Troy Carter is a name you might not be too familiar with, you have heard of his most famous client, Lady Gaga. Besides being her former manager, Carter is a big-time tech investor as the founder of AF Square, an angel fund and technology consultancy, with investments in over 40 startups including Spotify, Warby Parker, Songza, Dropbox, Fab and Uber.

Another rapper who has taken to investing is Nasir “Nas” Jones, who formed QueensBridge Venture Partners in 2014. The firm has invested in companies that include Lyft, Dropbox, Tilt, Bluebox, Coinbase, Cargomatic and Casper. 

Most of the musicians who have started investing seem to do it as individuals, but in the case of rock group Linkin Park it's the whole band that has gotten involved, launching Machine Shop Ventures in 2015. The firm has so far invested in Blue Bottle Coffee Company, Lyft, Shyp and Robinhood. 

(Image source: thesource.com)


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