By Ryan Velez
These days, more than ever, we are seeing prominent figures in the arts using their platforms to try and cross over into other fields, in particular, technology. This can range from supporting education programs to getting more people of color in the fields to actually invest and take part themselves. Black Enterprise recently profiled some music superstars who are doing just that.
If you’re talking the merger of music and business, Jay-Z can’t be left out of the discussion. On top of his many other ventures, Jay completed the $56 million acquisition of Aspiro in March 2015. This Norwegian media technology company operates the subscription-based music streaming service Tidal. According to the source, the acquisition was completed with the help of Mooreland Partners, a leading global technology-focused M&A advisory firm, which acted as financial adviser to Aspiro. Jay-Z currently is a major shareholder in the company Tidal.
Troy Carter is known as a behind-the-scenes wizard, the former manager of Lady Gaga who founded the Atom Factory, one of the biggest urban management companies around. But he has also quietly been investing in several major tech companies, including Uber, Spotify, and Lyft. In addition to being an investor and partner in newly formed Cross Culture Ventures, Carter also leads Spotify’s Global Creative team as the Global Head of Creator Services.
Many remember Spectacular Smith from his days in boy band Pretty Ricky, but today, he is all business, founder, and CEO of Adwizar as well as a real estate and crypto investor, keynote speaker, television personality, and best-selling author. Currently, Adwizar is on the 2017 Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in America list, and Smith has a net worth of around $65 million.
Chamillionaire is notable because he was one of the first artists to make the move before it really became popular to invest in tech, becoming an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Upfront Ventures. He is most recently known for his new venture, Convoz, an app for creating public collaborative conversation through video.
Of course, we can’t miss Chance The Rapper, who made a big splash with his $2.2 million-dollar-donation to STEM in Chicago schools. He’s also teamed with Google to make another $1.5 million donation to the cause of STEM. Google has agreed to give a $1 million grant to Chance’s nonprofit, SocialWorks, and $500,000 directly to Chicago Public Schools.