“In Residence”, changing the face of venture capital & tech

Marlon C. Nichols
Aug 15, 2017 · 3 min read

If you’ve visited our firm’s website you likely read the following mission statement. “Cross Culture Ventures invests in entrepreneurs creating next generation technology and consumer products…we work together to discover, invest in and develop companies that fuel shifts in cultural trends and behaviors within an increasingly diverse global marketplace.” This statement says a lot about how we see the world and where we believe tomorrow’s next breakout companies will come from. We view Cross Culture Ventures as a vehicle of change.

It’s been stated widely that there are very few women in leadership roles and even fewer people of color within venture capital. Many of those studies point to pipeline or lack there of as the primary reason for the disparity. We know from first hand experience that pipeline is not the sole reason, but it is one symptom of the problem that we can do our part to solve for.

My partner Troy Carter and I have stated publicly on many occasions that we are seeking to invest in the top companies tackling unmet challenges that are led by people who deeply understand and are best positioned to address those challenges. We do this without bias and as a result can boast that 53% of the companies that we have made investment commitments to are led by either Black or LatinX founders. That’s a statistic that we are proud of, but we also know that there are many smart people that don’t yet have a path to venture capital. Our first attempt to address this was to create an internship program. We targeted MBA candidates with stellar professional experiences prior to attending graduate school, that had no experience in venture and demonstrated real interest in venture capital and/or entrepreneurship. Our goal was to teach them the business of venture capital through a one to two year apprenticeship while helping them to grow their networks. During the first two years we were lucky to have worked closely with 5 talented MBA candidates, 60% of which are women. The program has been both rewarding and successful so we will bring on two or three new interns this school year.

Today, we are taking yet another step towards our goal of changing the face of venture. This time we’re focusing our attention on talented professionals who don’t have experience in venture capital, but seek it. We have titled the program “In Residence”. The stated goals of the program are that the participants learn the business of venture capital investing, add significant value to our portfolio companies, and become attractive candidates for partner track roles at other venture firms. In order for this program to be successful, the candidates must have stellar accomplishments and possess skill sets that can be useful to startups. As such, we’ve welcomed Sian Morson and Rashad Drakeford to our team as Entrepreneur and Marketer in Residence respectively.

About Sian Morson
Sian is a successful mobile founder/ CEO and best selling author, who has successfully sold a company. Sian has also worked on special projects for the White House during the Obama administration.

About Rashad Drakeford
Rashad is a marketing professional. Having held leadership roles at Beats by Dre (Apple) and REVOLT Media & TV, Rashad brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of marketing and content development across TV, digital, social media, and mobile platforms.

About Cross Culture Ventures (www.crossculturevc.com)
Cross Culture Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. Cross Culture Ventures seeks to invests in entrepreneurs creating next generation technology and consumer products. Through a strategic partnership with Atom Factory, Cross Culture Ventures works to discover, invest in and develop companies that fuel shifts in cultural trends and consumer behavior within an increasingly diverse global marketplace.

Marlon C. Nichols

Written by

Founder/Managing Partner @CrossCultureVC, @KauffmanFellows, fmr @intelcapital @CornellMBA, @Northeastern, Pro-athlete, Jamaican born! Culture+Tech = new mkts