Diplo joins $200m funding round for Torch Capital to invest in consumer-facing startups

Photo credit: Maria José Govea

DJ, songwriter and music producer Diplo, an early investor in early-stage consumer-focused venture capital firm Torch Capital, took part in its second funding round that raised $200 million.

MBW understands that Diplo is a long-time friend of Torch founder Jonathan Keidan and has made a handful of successful investments alongside Keidan.

The Grammy award-winning DJ and producer has over the recent months made notable investments in companies like social music platform Stationhead ($12 million Series A in July 2022) and business and financial management platform HIFI (eight-figure funding round in March 2022).

Meanwhile, Keidan started his career in the music business as a talent manager. He previously worked with artists such as John Legend, The Dave Matthews Band, and songwriters for Robbie Williams, Christina Aguilera and Enrique Iglesias, according to the announcement.

Keidan co-founded digital media company InsideHook and spent time at McKinsey in its TMT practice.

His early investments include Compass (IPO 2021), Digital Ocean (IPO 2021), Sweetgreen (IPO 2021), and Zocdoc, and made several other early investments that were strategically acquired over recent years including Say (acquired by Robinhood), Swarm (acquired by SpaceX), Sir Kensington’s (acquired by Unilever), and Parcel (acquired by Walmart). 

New York-based Torch Capital invests in tech-enabled consumer brands and platforms. The firm says it operates “at the intersection of consumer and technology, investing in mission-driven companies that are improving accessibility, transparency, and convenience for the end consumer”.

“Our investment lens has always been razor focused on brand and a company’s ability to create and sustain deep relationships and trust with their end-consumer.”

JOnathan Keidan, Torch Capital

The company’s portfolio of investments include Ro (Roman), Acorns, Highsnobiety (acquired by Zalando), Tia, Naadam, Rho Banking, Sollis Health, and Lili Bank.

“Consumer markets remain one of the largest and most disruptable spaces in the world. As technology evolves, consumer behavior is constantly shifting, creating huge opportunities to build value in more parts of their lives than ever before,” said Torch Founder and Managing Partner, Jonathan Keidan.

“We back companies transforming entire consumer verticals, using technology to make products and services more accessible, transparent, and affordable.”

Apart from Diplo, Torch’s other backers include Silas Chou (consumer investor behind Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Aston Martin F1), James Murdoch (Former Chairman & CEO of 21st Century Fox), Bob Pittman (Chairman & CEO of iHeartMedia), Bob Hurst (Former Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs and Vice Chairman of Clearview), Brynn Putnam (Founder of Mirror), and Jenny Fleiss (Co-Founder of Rent the Runway).

The firm closed its first fund, which raised $60 million, in June 2015.

Most recently, Torch said its Fund II has already made seed investments including clearing and custody platform Embed, which was recently acquired, and Little Otter, a mental health platform for kids and their families, which recently completed a series A led by Charles River Ventures.

“Our investment lens has always been razor focused on brand and a company’s ability to create and sustain deep relationships and trust with their end-consumer. To do so, we work in the trenches with our entrepreneurs to help them identify, nurture and scale their audience bases,” Keidan added.

“As technology becomes more commoditized and B2B becomes more consumerized, we view a company’s brand stack as a critical driver of value creation for consumers, SMB’s and larger enterprises.”

Music Business Worldwide

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