The Chainsmokers just closed their debut venture fund, Mantis, with $35 million – TechCrunch


Alex Pall and Drew Taggart are finest often known as The Chainsmokers, an digital DJ and manufacturing duo whose first three albums have given rise to quite a few Billboard chart-topping songs, 4 Grammy nominations, and one Grammy award, for the tune “Don’t Let Me Down.”

Quickly, they hope they’ll be often known as savvy enterprise buyers, too.

They have already got some major-league believers, together with buyers Mark Cuban, Keith Rabois, Jim Coulter and Ron Conway, who’re among the many different people who supplied the Chainsmokers’s new early-stage enterprise agency, Mantis, with $35 million in capital commitments for its debut fund.

It’s a surprisingly conventional car in some ways. For starters, Mantis is being managed day-to-day by two common companions who respectively provide enterprise and operational expertise: Milan Koch graduated in 2012 graduate from UCLA and has been an investor ever since, together with as a enterprise accomplice with the seed-stage fund Base Ventures; Jeffrey Evans is a report label founder who has lengthy identified the Chainsmokers’s enterprise supervisor, Josh Klein.

With fundraising begun earlier this yr, the agency has already made a handful of investments, too, together with the health app Fiton (Pall says they “squeezed into the A spherical after its shut”), and Loansnap, a mortgage-lending startup that was based by serial entrepreneur Karl Jacob.

Pall and Taggart take their well being significantly, so the health app is straightforward to know. As for why the world’s highest-paid DJs could be fascinated about such a seemingly staid enterprise as mortgage lending, Taggart says the agency’s mission is finally to search out and fund a variety of startups that might probably profit its younger viewers, and that he and Pall are completely happy to make use of their star energy to assist associated founders when a specific know-how catches their eye.

Within the case of Loansnap, he says that he and Pall have been impressed by Loansnap’s promise to course of loans extra effectively than different lenders. By getting concerned within the firm, all sides additionally acknowledged a “large press alternative for Loansnap at a time when COVID was hitting and there was going to be billions of {dollars} in refinancing occurring that [the company] needed to take part in,” he says.

Certainly, regardless of investing a comparatively small in what was finally a $10 million spherical for Loansnap in Could, Mantis was credited in quite a few stories as being the deal lead.)

Taggart and Pall say additionally they take inspiration from singer Jimmy Buffett, who has co-created quite a few companies to each profit, and capitalize off, his personal fan base. Although Buffett began with Margaritaville — a hospitality firm with an informal eating American restaurant chain, a sequence of shops promoting Jimmy Buffett-themed merchandise, and casinos with lodging amenities — he has extra just lately begun constructing retirement communities in Florida for ageing Buffett acolytes, and Pall and Taggart says the technique resonates,

“After we began eight years in the past, our followers have been primarily all in faculty,” says Taggart. “Now they’re coping with paying again their faculty loans, and so they’re in all probability making use of to purchase their first home, so an organization like Loansnap seems like a type of startups whose providers our followers have grown into needing.”

Pall and Taggart aren’t completely model new investing. Pall says they’ve been making seed-stage bets as angel buyers for a number of years, together with in Ember, an eight-year-old, L.A.-based firm that makes temperature-controlled mugs and journey mugs and has raised roughly $25 million altogether, reveals Crunchbase.

“I’d wish to say that we have been like considering On this unimaginable method concerning the enterprise on the time, however we have been similar to, ‘This can be a actually nice product and we love the founder,” Pall says.

The truth is, the 2 bought into plenty of “numerous offers,” he continues, however “all of it was inbound” till two years in the past, once they “determined to type of change our technique and go hunt down the alternatives that we thought have been on the market…  We thought that perhaps if we institutionalize this course of, [we’ll discover] much more alternative on the market for us to work with dynamic founders and attention-grabbing founders who’re going to alter the panorama of tomorrow.”

Quickly after, Pall and Taggart have been launched to Koch by L.A. investor Peter Pham; Koch in the meantime knew Evans by means of a mutual buddy within the music trade. Issues started coming collectively from there.

Pall and Taggart — who say that every one 4 members of the group must wish to do a deal for it to maneuver ahead — are definitely entrepreneurial themselves. Apart for performing roughly 100 reveals final yr earlier than starting work this yr on a fourth album, the 2 additionally run a manufacturing studio. They’re stakeholders in a small batch spirit model referred to as JaJa Tequila.

Final yr, additionally they co-founded YellowHeart, a ticketing platform that goals to place extra energy within the arms of performers, relatively than scalpers.

Mantis was initially concentrating on $50 million in capital commitments, as reported by Bloomberg. Requested if that focus on proved too bold, Koch says the unique concept was to boost $30 million, and that although the fund’s restricted accomplice settlement said that it might elevate as much as $50 million, the group “simply determined that for a primary time fund, to ensure that us to supply a fantastic IRR, we’d simply relatively persist with the goal.”

Pictured above, left to proper: Jeffrey Evans, Alex Pall, Drew Taggart, Milan Koch.


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