By Michael Teich
Rapper Tip "T.I." Harris has already built a reputation as a musician, producer, and actor, but now he's looking to add tech investor to his credits with the launch of his new company, TechCypha.
TechCypha is a "group of entertainers, entrepreneurs, executives that all want to pool our funds together for the purpose of providing technology to add culture," T.I. told Cheddar in an interview Friday.
The new company, he said, is committed to making a difference in the tech community by placing an emphasis on inclusion and diversity. Cultural relevance will be a key factor directing where TechCypha decides to allocate its funding. TechCypha's co-founder and CEO, the music mogul and entrepreneur Jason Geter, said his experience in the hip-hop industry inspired his decision to get involved in business.
"Hip-hop breeds entrepreneurship," Geter told Cheddar.
"We're kind of like sitting on the sidelines and we're seeing how our culture just totally influences everything, and now we want to participate in that," he said.
One of the first companies TechCypha has selected to back is Culture Genesis, a digital studio for mobile apps based in Los Angeles. Culture Genesis's app, TriviaMob, which is a live game show geared towards multicultural gamers, is experiencing success with almost 50 percent retention. T.I said he is currently focused on Culture Genesis, but he looks forward to becoming more involved in companies that promote financial education.
One of his priorities, he said, is "definitely financial literacy and empowering the community by way of ownership and hopefully finding a way to make my hometown Atlanta, the westside specifically, become more self-sustained."
Funding more minority-led companies has been a weakness in the venture capital ecosystem. Blacks and Hispanic/Latino groups comprise of only 3 and 4 percent of the venture workforce, respectively.
"We all have to educate ourselves to know how to position ourselves to go after the funding," Geter said.
For full interview click here.