Troy Carter started his career in Philadelphia, working for Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment back in the days when Will Smith was still a rapper (DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince). In 1995, Carter left Overbrook and joined Sean “Diddy” Combs at Bad Boy Entertainment, where he worked with artists such as Notorious B.I.G. Four years later, he branched out and formed his own talent management company, Erving Wonder, which became one of the leading artist management firms, and was acquired by the Sanctuary Group in 2004.
It was 2007 when, while managing artists like Philly rapper Eve, Carter met a then-unknown Lady Gaga and focused on promoting her online, rather than through the traditional channels.. As Gaga rose to prominence, Carter started investing in companies like Turntable.fm and forming partnerships with platforms like Zynga to accrue fan engagement, all of which eventually helped Lady Gaga sell more than a million copies of her 2011 album, Born This Way, in its first week.
In 2010, Carter founded Atom Factory, an entertainment management company that works to define popular culture on a global scale, and is the company’s chairman and CEO.
In 2011, he cofounded 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.
Through AF Square, Carter has invested in over forty startups, including Uber, Lyft, Dropbox, and Spotify, to name a few.
Carter was also listed in Forbes’ 2011 as one of the most influential people in Silicon Valley.
Atom Factory Fund (AF Square), Founder and CEO
Entrepreneurship, Brand Design and Strategy Management, Storytelling, Customer Acquisition, Digital Media, Public Relations, and Product Development
Selected Investments of Troy Carter:
Slack, Wish, Dropbox, StyleSeat, Spotify, Warby Parker, Uber, ContextLogic, Lyft
Memorable Quotes from Troy Carter:
On the importance of entrepreneurs and music: “We need great minds around music…If entrepreneurs aren’t incentivized, music is going to be stuck in the dark-age.”
On the idea for his new business journalism startup, Smashd.co: “It came from internal conversations we’d been having around the office about where we get our news and information from in the morning. You’d go through blog after blog, and for us — living between the tech, music and pop-culture worlds — it just didn’t feel like there was one place where we could call home or a hub, especially as told through a very original lens.”
On what Carter hopes to do with Smashd.co: “It’s very rare when you can get a real glimpse inside the life of an entrepreneur. So for us, most of the stories we’re gonna be covering, like through a series called ‘In Residence,’ will give a glimpse inside their environment.”
On taking risks: “In life in general, there are no guarantees. Failures are a part of life. As cliché as it may sound, the way I look at it is that there are no rewards without taking risks. We take a risk every time we step out the door, you know, every single day. Life is full of risks and failures, but at the same time life is full of triumphs and happiness.”
On working with entrepreneurs: “I relate to entrepreneurs on a soulful level. I know what keeps them up at night. I know how those victories feel… And when you can’t make payroll, and you’ve got knots in your stomach, I know what that feels like, too.”