An expanding LOUD Capital team is ushering in a new era of innovation for the Columbus-based venture capital firm.
Strategic hires are taking the firm in new directions that leverage each individual’s unique background. It’s also building an ecosystem around the firm, from laying pathways for startups to better position themselves for investment, to building awareness of the power of venture in populations from educators to professional athletes.
2019 will bring focus to a new line of business, Legacy Ventures. Drawing expertise from Associate & Advisor Eric Troy and Associate Evan Spencer, Legacy will focus on empowering professional athletes, entertainers and influencers to imagine their legacy anchored in venture capital.
Troy’s varied experience touches on many facets of the new lines of business LOUD is exploring. He’s represented athletes from the MLB, NFL, and NBA. Troy also brings over three decades of experience in advertising and marketing for major brands like McDonalds, Coke and Nationwide. His ties to higher education include most recently managing a social entrepreneurship program at The Ohio State University.
Spencer is his own case study for Legacy. After a successful collegiate football career at The Ohio State University, Spencer was drafted into the NFL. While football looked like his future, Spencer always had career ambitions beyond the game focused on finance. Tangibility drove him to his current role in venture capital – the opportunity to make an impact; to create jobs, not just analyze data.
Troy and Spencer will marry their backgrounds with LOUD’s client-centric approach in the new line of business.
“Our comprehensive approach is that the Legacy brand would be about our clients not about LOUD,” Troy says. “It’s going to be a customized, personalized fit.”
LOUD expects to work closely with a high-profile individual’s sphere of influence – agents, financial advisors, family, etc. – to engineer their legacy beyond their current profession. What do they want to leave behind?
“It’s really empowering the underlying ambitions, the underlying drives, of the individuals from these influential backgrounds,” Spencer says.
LOUD will connect the legacy dots in number of ways. It could mean investing in a fund LOUD already has or creating their own. The team can help identify endorsement and ownership opportunities or community outreach efforts that shape an influencer’s overall image.
Some of the first conversations LOUD will have with a client will identify social causes that are personal to them. They’ll help clients think about ways to support social causes that go beyond just writing a check or appearing at an event – how can they make a tangible, long-term impact?
As Spencer explains, it all comes together to give athletes, artists and other influencers a stage to think about what they want, and for LOUD to create a customized plan to help them on that path.
“That’s the unique aspect of Legacy Ventures is that we are really making this approach about them as a person,” Troy adds.
LOUD Partner Ryan Retcher also sees their new associates plugging into other growing areas of focus, namely higher education. LOUD looks to help close the gap between the innovation and research that comes out of universities, entrepreneurship and alumni through venture as a service.
It’s tackling a complex ecosystem that’s seeing entrepreneurship enter the conversation more than ever before. Troy says there’s a major shift in how higher education institutions validate themselves beyond providing degrees. Many of the students that are not going into a specialization area like medicine or law will be poised to create jobs as small business owners. Troy sees the question then becoming how to nurture that drive for entrepreneurship while also getting a degree.
Hands-on is LOUD’s way, so the team will focus on initiatives like connecting entrepreneurial alumni with students for internships or facilitating mentorship opportunities between students and companies in LOUD’s portfolio.
Looking for those connections at universities delivered LOUD intern turned Analyst Chase Petrie. Through connections at the Business Builders Club at Ohio State, Petrie learned of the internship with the firm. With an above and beyond mentality, an appreciation for the culture and desire to impact the community, internship turned to post-graduation position.
In his role, Petrie spearheads and manages several of LOUD’s internal projects and initiatives, one of which is Founder Institute.
A pre-seed startup accelerator, Founder Institute is wrapping up applications for its inaugural class which will guide entrepreneurs through an intensive, 14-week program to build a tech or tech-enabled startup. The experience leaves entrepreneurs ready to pitch to funders, key partners or employees.
For LOUD, Founder Institute becomes a referral pipeline for entrepreneurs that aren’t ready for investment, but post-accelerator could be a potential new portfolio company for the venture firm.
LOUD is taking venture in new directions at the hands of its team’s expertise.
“So many people talk about what they can do, but they very quickly demonstrated through action what they could contribute to the overall cause, and that they could make it their own,” Retcher says. “We could all work together towards advancing everything that we’re doing at LOUD, but we could give them their voice in this as well and I think that’s how we all win.”
For more information, visit loud.vc.