Voice of the customer

Marlon Nichols on Culture as a Currency

Jun 27, 2019

Marginalized markets understand their own needs but lack access to the proper resources and networks that are necessary to build scalable and enduring products. Marlon Nichols, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Cross Culture Ventures / MaC Venture Capital and an investor in mSurvey, their first investment in Africa, is working towards fixing this on a global scale.

Cross Culture Ventures / MaC Venture Capital is an early stage venture capital firm focused on finding ideas, technology, and products that can become infectious. They have a wide portfolio of technology companies that benefit from shifts in cultural trends and behaviors in an increasingly diverse global marketplace.

Marlon describes the USA’s increasingly browning population and speaks of companies that understand the needs of America’s growing urban communities and catering to them. He narrates the success of Rihanna’s cosmetics company, Fenty Beauty, that launched a line of products targeting people of colour. Within the first few days of release the darkest shades sold out.

Elaborating on the concept of culture as a currency, Marlon added, “We’re in a place where culture, customs and behaviour have value and are able to generate revenue.  Groups that have been ignored for sometime have influence in form of spending power and their decisions affect popular culture not only within the US and Kenya but from a global perspective as well.”

It is for this reason that Cross Culture Ventures / MaC Venture Capital’s biggest focus is investing in companies that intend to understand consumer behaviour and converge global popular culture and technology.

Speaking on why they invested in mSurvey, Marlon expounded on mSurvey and Cross Culture Ventures’ common understanding of the conscious customer. “Consumers are becoming more and more like activists and they are able to force enterprises to make certain choices , if you ignore this you risk losing revenue.” He narrates a cautionary tale of how disappointed Americans drove conversations on social media lashing out against Uber for siding with US President Trump on the infamous immigration laws advocating for a Muslim ban. The discussions spiralled into boycotts on the app leading to losses in the tune of millions for the multinational transportation network company.

Africa’s tech scene is booming, several tech hubs are fostering innovation and tech firms in the continent are experiencing increased investment. There is a need for more local entrepreneurs to understand how to secure investment capital. mSurvey has partnered with Workable, Nairobi, premium corporate co-working offices in Westlands to host Marlon at the Power Series @ Workable to speak about series seed-stage venture capital investing and how entrepreneurs should prepare for the same.

This will be the first Power Series @ Workable event which will be hosted regularly at Workable, a co-working space designed to match the international demand for corporate coworking spaces that have productivity and employee wellness at their core.

To RSVP, send an email to [email protected] .

About mSurvey

mSurvey is an Integrated Customer Experience company that connects businesses with their consumers, in real-time, using mobile messaging technology.

We have enabled Africa’s leading brands to improve their Customer Experience and increase operational efficiency with strategic information on their customer brand journey and eventually grow their revenue by providing them access to real-time customer feedback.

About Workable Nairobi

Workable is designed to offer modern, inspiring and energetic workplace to businesses seeking Grade A flexible office space in Nairobi. Ideally situated at Sanlam Tower on WaiyakiWay, Westlands our space was designed in the USA by Corgan Associates and Design Partnership Kenya. The OpenWork Agency in Austin Texas advised on strategy and bringing the business to operational reality. JLL advised on market survey.

The 12,000 square feet space features 19 office studios, 110 desks, 2 meeting rooms, a full-service in-house café as well as an events terrace.

The 19 offices can accommodate 2 to 14 people and are designed to encourage productivity, collaboration and to motivate. Accessible 24 hours through secure keyless access, each office has a private VLAN network for enhanced data security. Meeting rooms are fitted with the latest technology and fully serviced, ideal for offsite board, training, strategy and other meetings. We offer curated meetings and events packages.

 Our space is designed to provide an engaging, energetic, amenity-filled work environment. We are value through a thoroughly researched and designed space and a business concierge service that pro-actively anticipates and responds to our members’ needs. Workable has already attracted international corporate users including Hyatt Hotels and Zeep, a global telecoms services provider based in Hong Kong.


To learn more, please contact the Corporate Engagement & Learning team at [email protected] or Leonida Kombo – Senior Associate, Corporate Engagement & Learning | [email protected] |

+254 726 024 751.