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Troy  Carter

Troy Carter

Tech Venture Capitalist, Founder, Atom Factory


An entrepreneurial force that evolved from musician and legendary talent manager to tech mogul, VC visionary, executive producer and member of the Billboard Power 100, Troy Carter is now as famous for the start-ups that he early invested in (Uber, Lyft, Warby Parker, Dropbox, Spotify, Slack, Gimlet Media and The Skimm) as the artists that he launched to stardom (Lady Gaga, John Legend, Meghan Trainor, Nelly, Priyanka Chopra, Charlie Puth and others). Known for the “art of the hustle,” Carter’s unstoppable combination of work ethic, grit and genius took him from high school dropout to multi-millionaire CEO. In industry after industry, his stellar successes share a common thread: a proven talent to recognize the potential of artists, technology, business models, founders, organizations and leaders. Read More >

Called “the rare bridge between Silicon Valley and the Los Angeles entertainment industry” by Business Insider, Carter is currently the founder and CEO of Q&A, a new music & technology company focused on building an integrated solution for artists via distribution, management, label services, and data analytics with a highly collaborative artist-driven approach. He is also leading multiple ventures at the intersection of tech, innovation and branding – today’s multi-billion dollar start-ups and tomorrow’s culture. In addition, he is developing projects in film, TV and theater projects with Netflix, Universal and Apple. As a successful venture capitalist, Carter was the founder and CEO of Atom Factory and co-founder and Managing Partner of Cross Culture Ventures (CCV). Backing entrepreneurs that are creating next generation tech and consumer products, CCV develops its portfolio through cutting edge cultural trend research, marketing, branding, digital marketing, social media strategy, and a global influencers network. He most recently served at Spotify as its Global Head of Creator Services, overseeing the company’s relationships with artists, producers, songwriters and record companies. In 2017, Troy was also named Entertainment Advisor to the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson. Carter’s latest investments include companies ranging from subscription baby food delivery service Yumi to Catalyte, which uses AI to discover high-performing software talent. His powerful presence in the business of music elevated him to Billboard’s Power 100, the annual ranking of the music industry’s top influencers.

At the core of Troy Carter’s inspiring story is his childhood in a tough neighborhood in West Philly where the art of the hustle began. “My mom was not able to buy us the expensive Air Jordans, so if I wanted something that was a little bit nicer, my brother and I had to go earn money for it,” he says. At 13, he started handing out leaflets at hip hop gigs. Later, as an aspiring rapper, he waited outside of Will Smith’s recording studio for months, standing in the snow and rain to pitch his latest recording. Eventually, Smith and Smith’s manager, James Lassiter made him an assistant, opening doors in the music, film and television industries. Carter went on to promote concerts in his hometown and join P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment. Several years later, he launched his own boutique management firm, nurturing the career of hip-hop sensation Eve. In 2007, he signed then-unknown singer-songwriter Stefani Germanotta. Carter transformed her into the global pop phenomenon Lady Gaga, pioneering the promotional power of social media in the process.

A believer in “grit and gratitude,” Carter is now giving back by creating opportunities for others. His venture fund leads the way in bridging the funding gap for minority entrepreneurs and creating VC fellowships for college students of color. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for The Aspen Institute and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as a board member for organizations including The Grammy Foundation, United Nations Global Entrepreneurs Council and the James Madison Council at The Library of Congress. Carter spent time as a guest shark for Season 7 of ABC's hit primetime show Shark Tank and has been globally recognized on industry lists for Fast Company's Most Creative People, as well as The Hollywood Reporter's Silicon Beach Power List. Highly motivating, with a passion for inspiring others, Carter energizes audiences with stories from his life and career. Always forward focused, he covers trends in culture, media, technology, marketing, branding, and other topics that will help you envision the future through the eyes of one of America’s true business visionaries. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship

Investing in Risky Ideas

A Headwind or a Tailwind

Building the Gaga Brand

Interview with The Hollywood Reporter

The New Age of the Music Industry

Interview at Evenpro Conference

Speech Topics

“The Art of the Hustle”: What it Takes to Achieve Your Dreams

From high school dropout to multimillionaire CEO, Troy Carter attributes his success to “the art of the hustle,” his unstoppable combination of work ethic, grit and genius. In this highly motivational speech, he explores this powerful mindset and the traits and character vital to success in career and life. He also explores what he has learned from failure, celebrates the power of reinvention, and shares his secrets to staying fresh and ahead of trends.  Throughout, he tells his own inspiring tory of bucking impossible odds to reach stellar success –leaving audiences energized to take on new challenges and overcome obstacles. 

Innovating, Incubating and Accelerating: Tech and Trends that Will Shape the Future and Your Brand

Step into Troy Carter’s tech world for a look at his latest startup investments and what’s in the pipeline in Silicon Valley and beyond. He also looks at the future through a cultural lens viewing upcoming trends with an eye for “futureproofing your business” against disruption. How will shifts in demographics and behaviors affect how brands must engage with customers? Coming from a unique vantage point at the center of tech innovation, branding, and culture, Troy Carter reveals what’s coming next and how it will impact our lifestyles and businesses.

Spotting Potential: What to Look for in People, Investments & Organizations

What do Lady Gaga, Warby Parker, John Legend, Lyft and Uber all have in common? One man saw their potential: Troy Carter. Now an investor in more than 80 companies, Carter holds a unique position at the intersection of tech and entertainment, multi-billion dollar start-ups and tomorrow’s culture. His talent for spotting potential across numerous and varied industries continues to fuel his success. In this game-changing keynote, Carter shares what he looks for when evaluating founders, leaders, individuals, investments and more. He also explores how to foster and develop those qualities in others, yourself and your brand.