Troy Carter is well-known in the entertainment industry. He’s been in the music industry for over 25 years. He is also well-known for his talent company, Atom Factory, which has amassed an 80-company portfolio that includes stakes in Uber, Spotify, Lyft, Warby Parker, and Dropbox.
Lady Gaga and John Legend were also represented by Atom Factory. According to Vox, Carter is credited with turning Lady Gaga into a global sensation after she was dropped by her label Def Jam Records.
The two parted ways, but Carter began to use his talent for spotting talent in the field of technology. Smashd Labs, his Los Angeles-based incubator, began assisting tech startups in scaling up.
“On the artist side, we made a significant investment in very young artists from the very beginning of their careers and helped them become global superstars,” Carter told Re/code, according to Vox.
“So, on the entrepreneurs’ side, the idea of the labs was to be able to create this ecosystem to help them from the very beginning, to see them through from development and hopefully until they become large companies.”
He was able to invest in early-stage companies through Smashd Labs by selecting a diverse mix of firms and founders looking to explore multi-million-dollar markets. Two of the selected startups, Sidestep and Trakfire, aim to disrupt the music industry by providing new avenues for merchandise sales and song recommendations.
Carter also collaborated with Enrou, a marketplace that allows artisans in developing communities to sell their wares to customers all over the world. Throne, another startup he selected, is a peer-to-peer marketplace for sneakers and streetwear.
On November 14, 1972, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an African-American entrepreneur was born. After his parents divorced, he was raised by his mother in a rough neighborhood. He defied all odds by excelling in school and attending college.
After graduating from college, he reportedly began his music business career as a DJ before landing a job at Jive Records, where he worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Britney Spears and ‘N Sync.
As an early investor, he is credited with helping Uber grow into what it is today, in addition to investing in Dropbox, Spotify, Lyft, and Warby Parker.
Carter was also a popular figure on the business show Shark Tank, where he gave advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. He has since founded the tech and music company Q&A and amassed a large collection of works by African-American artists in order to make black culture more widely known. Bradford, Theaster Gates, and Lauren Halsey are among the African-American artists in his collection.