Strategy Session is a feature for Crunchbase News where we ask venture capital firms five questions about their investment strategies.
Palm Tree Crew Investments is the early-stage investment arm of multiplatinum DJ Kygo and his manager/business partner Myles Shear‘s company, Palm Tree Crew Holdings. The firm, founded in 2016, invests in consumer, technology and entertainment brands.
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Different from other venture capital firms, Shear decided to make Miami the company’s homebase rather than Silicon Valley, telling me that he grew up in Miami and really has never left. He’s now among good company, especially as Miami is emerging as a tech hub, with many venture capitalists relocating there in the past year.
Shear spoke to me about breaking the mold on standard VC firms, investments, inspirations for starting Palm Tree, and making Kygo into a mogul.
The following was lightly edited for clarity and length.
How did Palm Tree Crew get started?
Shear: This was something that our closest family and friends supported us on from Day One. Kygo and I built our careers together and wanted to build something bigger — like an empire — and wanted to come up with a name for what we were doing. I ultimately decided to partner with Kygo on managing artists and investing in the future. We came up with the Palm Tree Crew name while we were in Ibiza. We started gifting palm tree necklaces to our inner circle as a symbol of community. Just like Kygo’s music, Palm Tree Crew is a lifestyle and we are building an amazing community.
What kinds of companies do you like to invest in?
Shear: As we grow in our careers, so does our strategy in investing in new brands and technology. In 2019, we decided to form an investment arm to invest in lifestyle brands. We have a few companies in our portfolio, like Long Drink, Drink Poppi and BitClout.
How do you like to work with founders?
Shear: We like that this kind of work is very hands-on. When we make an investment, our strategy is weekly calls, and talking to founders about how we can bring in people to help to promote the brand, either with Kygo or a strategic investor. It is intense. We like to de-risk the investment as much as we can. We are confident about the founders we love, and when we invest in a company, we really invest in who is running it.
What is your vision for 2021?
Shear: We hope to build an investment strategy in the consumer and consumer tech space, as well as blockchain. We are excited for the future we are doing at Palm Tree, building a diversified set of categories and bringing value-add. That is important for us. We have a different take on investing. People can get money from everyone, and maybe they don’t need as much capital, but they do need strategic help.
Since your background is in music and brands, what’s the learning curve been like in being an investor?
Shear: I found Kygo at 20 years old, and didn’t know how the music business world worked. But you surround yourself with great people and see what they are doing. We didn’t create this idea, but we saw what Scooter Braun did with his network. Even [Sound Ventures’] Guy Oseary and Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Durant. We saw their models, and I think also Kygo’s music is class and cool — it hits so many demographics — that we thought it was attractive to CEOs and startups as much as it resonated with the world. There was no reason we couldn’t make Kygo a mogul. We started out with handing out palm tree necklaces to friends and turned it into a management company and then an investment vehicle. We have a platform to think outside the box.
Photo of Myles Shear and Kygo, co-founders of Palm Tree Crew Investments, courtesy of the firm.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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