A focus on diversity reaps rewards for this Los Angeles investor

The Los Angeles startup scene has come a long way in the three-and-a-half years since Marlon Nichols, Troy Carter and Trevor Thomas launched Cross Culture Ventures. The city and its surrounding Orange County exurbs were at the beginning of a venture capital surge that has seen invested capital in the region rise from $3.63 billion in 2015 to $6 billion last year.
Since Cross Culture landed on the Los Angeles scene with a $50 million fund, Nichols and his partners have notched three exits and seen the paper value of the fund’s portfolio grow by an aggregate of 2,085 percent, according to people with knowledge of the firm.
And Nichols and his partners have done it by backing one of the most diverse pools of startup founders in any firm’s portfolio.

The road to Cross Culture

The path from growing up in one of the towns on the outer edges of New York to the center of Los Angeles’s burgeoning venture capital industry wasn’t a straight line for Nichols (unlike many other venture investors). Cross Culture’s architect had to make his own way through the tech ranks after college, through a professional career in Europe, then back to business school before finally landing an opportunity with Intel Capital.
His father had worked as a train engineer in Jamaica and relocated the family to New York, where his mother worked as a housekeeper before getting her beautician license and opening her own shop. The couple had moved from Jamaica two years before Nichols would take the trip himself — time he spent living with his aunt and grandmother.
A focus on diversity reaps rewards for this Los Angeles investor
Marlon Nichols, co-founder and managing partner, Cross Culture Ventures
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