LL Cool J is now investing in crypto startups.
The rapper and entrepreneur is part of a glitzy roster of limited partners backing North Island Ventures’ newly revealed $72 million VC fund.
Helmed by Glenn Hutchins, co-founder of $39 billion private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, backers include big names like hedge fund boss Paul Tudor Jones; Josh Harris, co-founder of Apollo Group; and former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.
The new VC fund, whose co-founders are Hutchins’ son James Hutchins and former Digital Currency Group investor Travis Scher, has been quietly making VC investments in crypto and blockchain projects since early last year.
Hutchins is something of a crypto OG having taken firm interest back in 2015, in both cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, equally – unlike many of his peers at that time.
“Some people might see this story and think Glenn Hutchins is jumping on the bandwagon,” Travis Scher told CoinDesk in an interview. “The truth is that Glenn was one of the earliest very established leaders from the finance community to get behind this technology.”
In addition to Dapper Labs (the company behind the new Flow blockchain and surging NFT game NBA Top Shot), North Island has invested in carbon-credit tracking platform Nori and blockchain interoperability app Axelar.
Quite a few celebrities including some rappers, got involved in blockchain projects during the ICO boom of 2017. This time around it’s a more measured approach, says Scher.
“I would say that pitching LL Cool J about our fund was a surreal experience,” said Scher. “I think people across a variety of industries, including entertainment, are curious about what opportunities this technology presents for them.”
UPDATE (Feb. 4, 16:35 UTC): Adds comments from North Island Ventures Managing Partner Travis Scher.