Rapper Chamillionaire is the newest entrepreneur-in-residence at Mark Suster’s Los Angeles-based investment firm Upfront Ventures.
Suster announced Chamillionaire’s residency on his blog a few days ago.
It turns out Chamillionaire, a.k.a. Hakeem Seriki, has actually been involved in the world of entrepreneurship for some time.
In 2003, Chamillionaire, best known for his 2005 single “Ridin’ (Dirty),” invested in a Houston-based car dealership called FlyRydes. He’s also launched a modelling firm, led a Global Innovation Tournament at Stanford — part of the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar Series — and he owns a tour bus company.
He’s also attended a bunch of tech conferences as an audience member and as a speaker. In 2009, he met Suster, and invested in Maker Studios, an online video talent agency now owned by Disney.
Here’s what Suster said in his announcement:
After seeing Chamillionaire interact with several entrepreneurs both at events and as an investor I started introducing him to startups in an advisory capacity. It always started the same way — a founder would ask for an intro because they figured he could help with promotion. And after one meeting they started asking for his advice about marketing, customer engagement, product design, monetization — whatever.
Chamillionaire has a way more refined sense of what customer behaviour 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 or if you prefer a summary version in writing it’s here.
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. He attends many of the high-profile tech conferences and has been hanging out with a few partners at Y Combinator and such.
Chamillionaire’s entrepreneur-in-residence appointment marks the first time a rapper has been given the title at a VC firm. However, Andreessen Horowitz has an “official rapper”: an underground rapper named Divine.