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March 29, 2021

#285: Marlon Nichols, Managing General Partner at MaC Venture Capital, on Building a World Class Venture Firm to Span Generations, Identifying Emerging Behavioral and Cultural Trends, and What it Takes to Merge Venture Funds

#285: Marlon Nichols, Managing General Partner at MaC Venture Capital, on Building a World Class Venture Firm to Span Generations, Identifying Emerging Behavioral and Cultural Trends, and What it Takes to Merge Venture Funds

Marlon Nichols is a founding managing partner at (formerly Cross Culture Ventures), which finds the entrepreneurs who are building the future for the rest of America. He’s an industry veteran – a former Kauffman Fellow and Investment Director at...


Marlon Nichols is a founding managing partner at MaC Venture Capital (formerly Cross Culture Ventures), which finds the entrepreneurs who are building the future for the rest of America. He’s an industry veteran – a former Kauffman Fellow and Investment Director at Intel Capital, where he launched Intel’s $125M diversity fund. Marlon, with an extensive background in technology, private equity, media and entertainment, has a unique eye for global trends and shifts in consumer behavior. This has helped him capture high-potential investments, which include Gimlet Media, MongoDB, Thrive Market, Fair, LISNR, Mayvenn, Blavity, Pipe, Wonderschool, and other companies that reflect overlooked markets. He serves on the board of directors for Ajua, Blavity, Finesse, Kauffman Fellows Program, LISNR, Ryff, Sote and Wonderschool.

Thanks to his background as a professional athlete, Marlon utilizes sports leadership philosophy when working closely with CEO’s to build the ventures of tomorrow. His diverse network of media and entertainment industry leaders, tech entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 executives and sports professionals helps him develop strategic partnerships and promote brand expansions for his portfolio companies. Marlon is a 2018 nominee of the ADCOLOR in Tech award, a recipient of MVMT50’s SXSW 2018 Innovator of the Year award, Digital Diversity’s Innovation & Inclusion Change Agent award, was named Pitchbook’s 25 Black Founders and VCs to Watch (2018 – 2020), was a TechWeek 100 winner and was named one of Silicon Republic’s 26 VC professionals spearheading change. He’s also been featured on TechCrunch, Fortune, Blavity, NBC and many more. He has been featured as a keynote speaker and regularly appears in the media as a thought leader in investing and cultural trends. Marlon earned his Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Northeastern University and an MBA from the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University, where he is also adjunct faculty in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

MaC Venture Capital
MaC Venture Capital is the result of the merger between successful Los Angeles and Bay Area based Seed funds, Cross Culture Ventures and M Ventures. MaC Venture Capital is an early stage venture capital firm focused on finding ideas, technology, and products that can become infectious. They invest in technology companies that benefit from shifts in cultural trends and behaviors in an increasingly diverse global marketplace. MaC VC helps entrepreneurs bring the future into focus to find their breakthrough moment. Their proven track record of 100+ investments has unlocked growth opportunities through capital, advisement, and relationship building. Their previous funds’ portfolios have returned capital to investors and continue to appreciate in value.

About Our Partner

This episode is brought to you Varia Search. Varia Search is a boutique legal recruiting firm that uses a bespoke approach to fill legal department roles from general counsel to paralegal. They have a particular focus on startups and growing tech companies.

They are a boutique firm which allows them to provide individualized, in-depth attention to both their clients and to their searches.

They focus solely on placing in-house candidates which allows them to give their clients a bespoke experience in filling their legal needs.

Their matchmaking approach ensures that clients are paired with candidates who not only have great credentials but who are also a good cultural fit for a growing company.

Learn more at variasearch.com.

Some of the Topics Covered by Marlon Nichols in this Episode

  • How MaC VC invests
  • How they identify emerging behavioral and cultural trends
  • How M Ventures and Cross Culture came together to merge into MaC Venture Capital
  • The process and challenges of merging venture funds
  • How Marlon got into VC
  • The process of fundraising for their first fund
  • What institutional LPs are looking for when investing in a fund
  • Knowing when to be innovative and when to stick to what is proven to work
  • Startup ecosystems Marlon has seen evolved during his time in VC and how they look at new markets
  • How they first heard about some of their portfolio companies like Gimlet Media and Zero Grocery, how they evaluated them and why they decided to invest
  • How Marlon manages his time
  • The growing industries of exchanges, trading platforms and fractional ownership
  • What's next for Marlon and MaC VC

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