“I can do so much more than rap with the rest of my life,” Chamillionaire says.
Upfront Ventures partner Mark Shuster announced Chamillionaire as the company’s new “Entrepreneur In Residence” in an article published in Bothsidesofthetable.com Sunday (February 22).
“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,” Shuster says in the article. “He attends many of the high-profile tech conferences and has been hanging out with a few partners at Y Combinator and such. This past year he even decided to attend burning man to get a sense of what that was all about.”
Shuster says he met the Houston rapper at a tech conference in 2009.
“I saw him on stage at the event talking about how he used social media to engage audiences,” Shuster writes. “This was 2009 and his understanding of audience engagement was far beyond anything I was hearing from most people at that time. 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.”
Maker Studio is a media company which sold to Disney in 2014 for half a billion dollars. Chamillionaire continued to invest in companies and built concepts with Shuster in order to immerse himself further.
“So we discussed his moving to LA for a while and working in our offices and developing his ideas and we decided to formalize it,” Shuster says in the article. “Our last EIR [Sam Rosen] was so successful in his program with us that I was keen to go on this journey again. Cham and his long-time business associate and producer Nsilo Reddick are in our offices for the next several months. And while Cham is always the guy on stage blowing away the audience, Nsilo has always been the quiet, reflective guy in the background with all the answers. They make a great pair.”
Shuster spoke with Chamillionaire in a venture capital-themed YouTube series in 2010. Chamillionaire used the stage to discuss his ambitions beyond music.
“I can do so much more than rap with the rest of my life,” Chamillionaire says in the video. “There’s so much more in this world. I know that young people who look up to me are watching a show like this and they’re paying attention. I want to start feeding this stuff out so that the younger generation will start getting it and paying attention to this stuff. I’m learning so much. I’m so advanced – ahead of so many other people. I don’t know a better way to serve my music [than by mastering technology]. I study it every day.”