He founded the Atom Factory talent agency. He manages Lady Gaga, and when she wanted her very own social network for her millions of “little monsters”, he co-founded Backplane. And he doesn’t do weekly team meetings. Troy Carter is a general badass, and will be at Disrupt NY.
Carter’s Atom Factory embodies the essence of a lean startup: With its small team, the company is making waves in the entertainment world by constantly reinventing itself and creating products based on interactions with fans.
“We want to increase their income and their profile by building their relationship with fans. Fans are looking to be more part of their world,” Carter once told Fast Company.
Enter Backplane, Carter’s next step for Lady Gaga’s massive online presence. The startup is funded by Google Ventures, Tomorrow Ventures, SV Angel, and Menlo Ventures and aims to serve fans by bringing together all of an artist’s online profiles into one source. The platform, which just expanded to 10 more artists, powers LittleMonsters.com, a site that more than 1 million of Gaga’s rabid fans call home.
Oh and Atom Factory’s tagline happens to be “Discover. Develop. Disrupt.” Perfect.
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Troy Carter is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Atom Factory, an entertainment management company defining popular culture globally. As a digital and social entrepreneur, Carter has defined the careers of numerous recording artists, including multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winner Lady Gaga. Carter began his career in Philadelphia working for Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment, and joined Bad Boy Entertainment in 1995 where he worked with disruptors such as Notorious B.I.G. In 1999, Carter formed the boutique talent management company, Erving Wonder. Erving Wonder quickly became one of the preeminent artist management firms and was acquired by the Sanctuary Group in 2004.
After founding Atom Factory in 2010, Carter and his Atom Factory artists began scaling the web’s largest social media audiences on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In 2011, to focus the potential of these distributed networks, Carter co-founded Backplane, a Silicon Valley startup that unites people around affinities, interests and movements. The following year, Carter incorporated A IDEA, a product development and branding agency, as well as AF Square, an angel fund and technology consultancy.
Today, the AF Square portfolio holds interest in more than 40 technology companies at various stages of growth. A IDEA will launch Pop Water, a new beverage category product, later this year.
[photo by Adam Fedderly/Fast Company]
When asked what is the biggest difference between Los Angeles and Silicon Valley accelerators, five from LA told me they’re more focused on startups that don’t take years to start monetizing. Leaders from Amplify, Launchpad LA, MuckerLab, Start Engine, and Originate Labs convened at this weekend’s Silicon Beach Festival in Venice, California. They explained that since there’s less capital down South, they’re less concentrated on long-term plays, even ones that could return bigger multiples down the line.
So Bay Area startups in ecommerce, media, advertising, and fashion looking to raise money or enter an accelerator might consider a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway.
“LA will never be Silicon Valley and we don’t want it to be” said David Carter, co-founder of Amplify. In Los Angeles, “You don’t raise money on an idea, you raise money on traction and revenue” MuckerLab‘s co-founder David Hsu told me. “If you tell me you’re going to build apps for homeless bums I’m gonna say ‘hrrrmmm’” in a sigh of disapproval. Bold, unproven models that need lots of employees and long periods of time in stealth remain Silicon Valley’s expertise said Howard Marks, co-founder of StartEngine.
Hsu says LA accelerators are looking for a “slightly faster road to monetization because funding rounds are a little smaller”. They just don’t have the cash to give startups an endless runway. “But on the other hand, for companies that have more tangible monetization strategies — I think LA is great for that” Marks tells me.
The Start Engine leader continues, “In LA, you see deals similar to deals in Silicon Valley but priced at like half, so for venture capitalists looking for good return, LA is perfect. But if they’re only looking for billion-plus returns, they should stay in SF.”
LA can also be a good home for startups that have been around the block but are still looking for an accelerator program. Amplify’s Carter says “If you think you’re too far down the road for an accelerator, I’d urge you to take another look.” Launchpad LA’s director Adam Lilling explains that for startups that already have a little momentum, “there’s this gas on a fire when an accelerator does their job really well.”
But while optimistic, they agreed LA’s tech scene still needs to mature. “What’s holding LA back is community. We don’t have a strong enough community to inspire entrepreneurs that are working at companies, or graduates, to start businesses here” Marks confessed. He cited the exiting talent of the PayPal mafia and Facebook mafia as catalysts for great startups in Silicon Valley. Amplify’s Carter concurs, concluding “We need more capital, and we need we need some more recent success stories – more billion dollar companies that spawn other companies.”
See the article here: What Los Angeles Accelerators Want: Startups That Make Money Right Away