SMASHD, A3C, & Comcast Partnered to discuss Culture, Tech, & Code With Start Up Investors Troy Carter, Marlon Nichols, and James Andrews

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Written By: Jelisa Raquel

A3C partnered with SMASHD Ventures, who presented an intimate panel conversation led by music and tech industry heavyweights Troy Carter, Marlon Nicols, and James Andrews on Wednesday, October 5th at the A3C Conference Center as part of 12th annual A3C Festival & Conference.  Culture + Code is SMASHD Venture’s nationwide tour of tech, culture, innovation and hustle, which started at the A3C Festival & Conference and was presented by Comcast.


Andrews the CEO of SMASHD Ventures recently returned to Atlanta. He moved to join Atom Factory Troy Carter and Cross Culture Ventures general partner Marlon Nichols in business. These 3 innovators shared their journeys from the grind, grit, and hustle to becoming successful within hip hop and with an start up business. Troy Carter started out working for companies such as Overbrook Entertainment, and Bad Boy records. He then began managing artists such as Eve. In 2007, he founded Coalition Media Group, and in 2010, founded its management division Atom Factory. Since then, Carter has established the careers of numerous recording artists and most notably Lady Gaga.


Andrews described some of his early day parallels being “so committed, and so driven that you will stop at nothing to get it done”. He reminisced on missing sleep as well as Nicols mentioned going without sleep for weeks to push out a product launch. Troy Carter reminisced on attending a conference in DC similar to A3C in his early days where he didn’t even have a room. He slept in the stairwell but he blames his thirst for success on why he never gave up and ultimately reached his goals.


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.
  • 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.


Senior Publicist, Journalist, and Celebrity Blogger from Atlanta,GA. Credits include Rollingout Magazine, Sheen Magazine, BE Magazine, Sheen Magazine, and many more!

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