[PROFILE] Searchlight: Marlon Nichols (Tech / Venture Capital)
Editor’s Note: Marlon was selected for theREGISTRYBayArea / Digital Diversity Network “2015 40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley” list.
From Jamaica to Europe to Silicon Valley: Crossing Cultures with venture capitalist Marlon Nichols
Title/Position: General Partner, Cross Culture Ventures
Marlon Nichols is a General Partner at Cross Culture Ventures, a venture capital fund he co-founded after a successful career at Intel Capital. Marlon is one of the most thoughtful people we know when it comes to thinking about getting into venture capital and what it takes to start and build a great firm.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and lived there for the first several years of my life before my parents moved our family to “Money Earning” Mount Vernon, New York. This was just the first of many sacrifices that my mom and dad made to ensure that I was afforded opportunities that they were not.
What is your favorite book?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I definitely believe that the journey is just as, if not more important than the goal or treasure. That journey builds character and helps to define us. I honestly believe that if there isn’t a journey we will never truly appreciate the treasure. I’ve read the book several times.
What issues are you most passionate about?
As a Jamaican born, black male who didn’t grow up in a wealthy or well networked family, I’ve had to work a little harder than some to reach my goals. Whether it was athletics, school, corporate politics, or venture capital I had to teach myself until I could identify the right mentors. There just seemed to be a ton of unnecessary obstacles or hurdles that I needed to clear before achieving each goal. Lots of scratching and clawing to get to this point and there’s still some way to go. So the thing I am most passionate about is creating opportunities for boys and girls with similar backgrounds to mine. This was the catalyst for starting Rise to College, a nonprofit focused on helping talented inner-city high school students to successfully apply and matriculate to this nation’s best universities. This is also why I served on the board of the Peninsula College Fund, a nonprofit that provides scholarship dollars and mentoring to first generation college students from less affluent neighborhoods in the Bay Area.