Cross Culture Ventures general partner Marlon Nichols, SMASHD's James Andrews and Troy Carter (Photo Credit: Sistarazzi for Steed Media Service)

Cross Culture Ventures general partner Marlon Nichols, SMASHD’s James Andrews and Troy Carter (Photo Credit: Sistarazzi for Steed Media Service)

When you allow him to tell his own story, SMASHD Ventures CEO James Andrews will say he’s been launching startups, products and rock stars since ’93.

“A founder you put a bet on is the one who bets on themselves… if you are a deejay, a producer who will do whatever it takes are usually the ones we move in on. Same with artists, those are the ones who you go hard for,” highlights the seasoned music executive.

Andrews recently returned to Atlanta – since his move back to the West Coast – to join Atom Factory Troy Carter and Cross Culture Ventures general partner Marlon Nichols during an intimate panel discussion titled SMASHD: Culture & Code presented by Comcast at the 12th Annual A3C Festival and Conference. Culture + Code is SMASHD Venture’s nationwide tour of tech, culture, innovation and hustle, which launched at A3C 2016.

Andrews is a serial entrepreneur who built and sold two companies in the last 15 years. A household name in entertainment and fashion, his corporate background includes senior marketing and social media positions in entertainment for Sony Music; fashion at Ecko Unlimited; new media at UBO; and advertising and PR at Isobar/Aegis Media, Ketchum. Andrews is a globally sought after speaker and contributor at Fox and CNN.

During the discussion, Andrews discussed current cultural trends as well as placed a call to action to Atlanta startups.

Here’s what he had to say.

How fluent do you need to be in Silicon Valley jargon/startup language to make it?

• The fluency is in knowing your product and doing the due diligence to know your audience, and your customer.

• A lot of the investment is investment in people who really spend the time to become fluent in a product.

• There is so much information out there now and the ability to watch a pitch on Y Combinator is out there.

• It comes down to you having a point of view and believing in your product.

Where does Atlanta fall in line when it comes to tech and startups?

Atlanta is prime for a huge revolution. We need more capital. There is definitely more capital needed. Because of the AUC [Atlanta University Center], Georgia Tech, Emory, and the fast-growing immigrant population in the city, it’s poised for amazing things.

The tax benefits and the ability to start a business, I started two businesses here. This is an amazing city to be settled in and to leverage those amazing kids that come out of AUC, Georgia Tech and Emory. They are looking for your business much like they were looking for LaFace [Records in the 90s]. There is a huge Kairos moment for this city.

Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.