Marcy Venture Partners (MVP), founded by Shawn Carter (JAY-Z), Jay Brown, and Larry Marcus, is dedicated to creating game-changing businesses and widespread brands. The company invests in consumer and culture with a focus on positive effects, such as sustainability, inclusion, accessibility, empowerment, and health & wellness.
In October 2021, MVP took a bet on 24-year-old technologist Iddris Sandu and his impact-driven innovation incubator Spatial LABS (sLABS). MVP made a significant investment in the company, which is the embodiment of superb hardware and concepts. The two companies have developed a multi-tiered partnership to explore the limitless possibilities at the intersection of technology, culture, and humanity.
“Jay-Z has always been on the cutting edge of cultural change and spotting the next generation’s leaders. Aligning with Marcy Venture Partners helps us achieve our goal of empowering young people via access to technology,” states Sandu. “This partnership’s long-term significance is characterized not just by the work we’re doing right now, but by the incalculable impact it will have on future generations of creators.”
The young visionary was born in Accra, Ghana, and raised in Compton and Harbor City, California. The multi hyphenate creative, innovator, and entrepreneur is a change and innovation catalyst.
His vast collection of work is a reflection of his multifarious experiences in life, business, and consciousness, continually expanding on his vision for democratized access and bridging the gap between technology and culture.
Sandu founded ethos, a consulting firm focused on advancement and innovation, in 2017. He went on to develop sLABS in 2019, a tech incubator focused on the metaverse and the future implications of blockchain across several spectrums of access and community-building, as well as HALT, the transportation and infrastructure business behind the widely anticipated Beacon.
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sLABS has previously worked on augmented reality partnerships with Beyoncé’s Ivy Park, Nipsey Hussle’s The Marathon Clothing Store, Rihanna’s Fenty line, and Kanye West’s Yeezy, all of which have collaborated with Jay-Z during their multi-hyphenate careers.
His collaboration with late hip-hop artist Nipsey Hussle would establish him as hip hop’s face of technology. In 2017, the Marathon store in Crenshaw, Los Angeles, became the world’s first “smart store,” allowing customers to interact with objects in the store to unlock augmented reality experiences and obtain access to limited-edition items. Customers could buy merchandise and get a sneak peek at exclusive material from the West Coast rapper via an app, thanks to Sandu’s role as chief of technology.
“Iddris has a conscious world view and a youth centric vision that is innovative and refreshing to witness, ”Jay-Z expressed. “We share similar parallels in how we imagine impacting people in our lifetime. Partnering with him on this journey and others is very exciting.”
Around the time he helped create the smart-store with Hussle, Jay-Z was acquainted with the likes of Sandu. After working with Hussle, he spent a year as a design and tech consultant for Kanye West’s Yeezy brand. He then went on to consult with Rihanna. “I used augmented reality to build Beyonce’s entire website. A partnership with Jay was a no-brainer. When Jay and I met, it was an instant understanding. I feel he recognized in me what he saw in himself early on.”
This investment comes at a time when the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries are experiencing rapid expansion. MVP leads and co-invests in companies with strong brand values, high customer satisfaction fueled by a great product, proven growth, and catalysts for scaling up. With the goal of showing the world what could be done through the lens of a Black creative, sLABS suited the bill.
sLABS is a company that serves mankind as a whole, but from a Black perspective. “I honestly feel I’m on this planet to have a positive impact on humanity as a whole. It’s critical that people understand the capabilities of the Black perspective in software and hardware. We’re frequently at the end of creation. Someone else is in charge of the hardware, software, business, and strategy. We simply make use of the product.” Sandu’s goal in the metaverse’s spatial reality – the next frontier of web 3.0 – is to ensure that black creators are at the forefront.
The debut of LNQ, an innovative, state-of-the-art blockchain-enabled hardware platform, is sLABS inaugural project. LNQ’s unique, real-time processing infrastructure intends to make the metaverse more accessible and provide creators with decentralized tools to engage with their communities.
“We’re introducing LNQ, our first product. It’s a system that lets you acquire access by leveraging the power of your apparel. We refer to LNQ as the wearable internet.” Integrating computing with apparel, Sandu calls it Hardwear.
The company unveiled the wearable internet website this week, with a countdown to its launch in 22 days. A thriving community can be found on the company’s Discord page.
The pulse of the culture is at Sandu’s fingertips. His entrepreneurial talents are equally adept in his ability to interact with multi-generational moguls and bring them together, defying ageist preconceptions. He is committed to employing his foresight and innovation in urban planning, product engineering, XR, and biomimicry design for access.
Dedicated to serving people first and foremost, he is the common denominator within today’s most important and advanced digital-facing moments and weaving them together with technology.
Sandu is currently known as a technologist, but he aspires to explore agriculture in five years. He plans to advance agriculture 4.0 by utilizing technologies to deliver the capabilities that countries with limited access to technology demand. “There are people farming at an alarming rate; I want to equip them with the next generation of technology so they can identify and predict distinct weather trends before they arise.”
LNQ marks the start of a new era of ambient technology. “How do you design homes with gardens that also transcend into the kitchen?” Sandu asks. “We aim to provide access in people’s homes. Technology has become devoid of a screen or a battery. Our goal is to have everything flow so seamlessly that you don’t even notice it.”
Follow sLABS & LNQ on socials @spatial_labs @lnq.io @iddrissandu