Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners has reportedly acquired a stake in spatial LABS (sLABS), a tech incubator founded by Iddris Sandu. Spatial LABS is a tech incubator with a focus on the metaverse and blockchain-based products, according to Billboard.
Sandu is a 24-year-old technologist and entrepreneur who developed algorithms for companies like Uber, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram.
According to Complex, Marcy Venture Partners and sLABS will delve into the intersection of tech, culture, and humanity. A press release sighted by Complex said Sandu will first launch LNQ, a “blockchain-enabled hardwire platform that “aims to make the metaverse more accessible and provide creators with decentralized tools to engage with their communities through LNQ’s proprietary, real-time processing stack.”
Jay-Z joins a tall list of celebrities that the Southern California-raised has worked with. In 2017, Sandu helped hip-hop artist/entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle set up his Marathon Clothing store. Known as the world’s first “smart store”, Marathon Clothing allows customers to download exclusive music and other content through an app.
The store leverages Sandu’s tech and design background and Hussle’s cultural influences, sparking the interests of many journalists as well as hip hop and cultural icons like Russell Westbrook, Vegas Jones of Roc Nation, among others.
Sandu has also served as a technical consultant for Kanye West and partnered with Jaden Smith. His work is recognized by many macro influencers including the likes of Mayor Eric Garcetti and Barack Obama.
He has also worked with Beyoncé’s Ivy Park and Rihanna’s Fenty line.
“Iddris has a conscious world view and a youth centric vision that is innovative and refreshing to witness,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “We share similar parallels in how we imagine impacting people in our lifetime. Partnering with him on this journey and others is very exciting.”
Sandu shot to fame when he developed a mobile software that would later gain the attention of former U.S. president Obama and land him at the White House, where he received the honorary presidential scholar award when he was in high school.
The software engineer considers himself a “cultural architect” and said he aims to “level the playing field” between Silicon Valley and young communities of color.
Born and raised in Harbor City, California with parents from Ghana, Sandu would never forget a harrowing experience he had when he was eight – his father had wanted to take him on a trip to Ghana.
“But on the fourth day of the trip, he abandoned me in this village, took my passport and came back to the States,” Sandu told Oxford University’s Music and Style Magzine, adding that he was abandoned for almost nine months before getting into contact with an NGO which helped him travel back home.
He got back to the U.S. when the first-ever iPhone was unveiled, and this started his journey into the tech world.