Rapper Nas Is Quietly Planning A Takeover Of The Ad Business

Rap star Nas made two major power moves last year with his Queensbridge Venture Partners.

First, the investment the rap star put into the pharmaceutical company Pillpack provided huge returns when it was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion in July of 2018.

Later on in the year in March of 2018, Nas’ early investment in Ring, paid off. The company was acquired by Amazon.as well, for $1 billion, earning the rapper an estimated $40 million.

Well Nas is putting his money behind another new tech company Vengo Labs.

The tech company is disrupting out-of-home advertising by providing digital vending machines that engage consumers and drive trial of new products.

The company just raised $7 million in a Series B funding round.

The funds will be used to scale Vengo’s presence in colleges and gyms and to begin testing new applications, with an initial focus on the beauty industry.

Today, over 1,000 Vengo digital kiosks can be found around college campuses, gyms, hotels, and more.

This hybrid retail and marketing tech solution creates targeted and effective new retail, sampling and media opportunities for brands.

“Vengo is always thinking about creating a frictionless experience for consumers. Vengo’s physical-plus-digital platform enables brands to create impactful, positive experiences for consumers that jump out of the digital ecosystem and into the real world to provide instant gratification. Marketing can no longer just interrupt the consumer, it needs to provide real value.” – Brian Shimmerlik, CEO and Co-Founder of Vengo Labs.

The round was led by Arcade Beauty, an Oaktree Capital portfolio company and the largest manufacturer of beauty samples in the world.

Also participating in the round are SPINS, Bill Apfelbaum, Grace Beauty Capital, and Kensington Capital Ventures. Previous investors include Tony Hsieh, Brad Feld, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Tisch, and Joanne Wilson.

Vengo Labs was first introduced to consumers via its $2 million deal on ABC’s Shark Tank from investors Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner.

Co-founders Brian Shimmerlik and Steven Bofill raised $5 million in previous funding rounds. This additional financing brings the company’s total funding to $12 million to date.