From The Tonight Show to Venture Capital; Meet Roots Rapper Tariq Trotter

Abu Mubarik September 06, 2022
Tariq Trotter, also known as Black Thought JARED COUNCIL. Via Forbes

Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter has cut a niche for himself in show business. She is a lead emcee for Grammy-winning band The Roots, which is the house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He has also performed in front of six-figure crowds.

The 48-year-old has been in the music business for 30 years but has also been involved in the venture capital business all along by forging relationships on Twitter with high-profile founders and investors.

He met Phil Beauregard, Impellent Ventures’ managing general partner on Twitter in 2016 and also connected to folks like then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and venture capitalist Chris Sacca. As Trotter and Beauregard became more close, the latter floated the idea of teaming up in venture capital.

The witty lyricist has now transitioned from show business to venture capital after taking interest in the firm Impellent Ventures. While the prospect of making more money is enticing, Trotter wants to be a catalyst for innovation and wealth building by Black entrepreneurs and other underrepresented groups who have traditionally received less venture funding.

“I’ve always considered myself a catalyst for change,” Trotter told Forbes. “And I’ve always spoken, in my writing, to change, to evolution, to … financial literacy for Black and brown and indigenous people who normally are intimidated or put off by that sort of thing.”

Impellent Ventures, founded in 2019, focuses on early-stage firms in cities and regions that have historically not been the target of venture capitalists as well as underrepresented founders. As a general partner in Impellent Ventures, Trotter is involved in the day-to-day operations of the firm and helps the firm scout, assess and nurture startups.

With an initial fund of $10.5 million and wrapping up commitments for a new $50 million fund, Impellent writes checks that range from $500,000 to $1.5 million and has portfolios in tech startups, and consumer brands offering eyewear and toilet paper spray. Also, close to 60% of portfolio companies are led by women or people of colour.

Despite his transition to venture capital, Trotter says he is not leaving show business totally, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in particular. According to him, he will still do music and help with The Roots’ production company.

Nonetheless, Trotter says he is in the venture capital business for the long haul and has not ceased learning from experienced venture capitalists and tapping into their knowledge, specificity and confidence.

Last Edited by:Sedem Ofori Updated: September 12, 2022


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