Building a Business Beyond Melodies: The Chainsmokers' Model

Building a Business Beyond Melodies:  The Chainsmokers' Model
Building a Business Beyond Melodies: The Chainsmokers' Model

Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, widely known as "The Chainsmokers," have achieved remarkable success in the fiercely competitive realm of electronic music. Forbes magazine crowned them the highest-paid electronic duo in 2019, a testament to their musical prowess, further underscored by their Grammy award, two American Music Awards, and seven Billboard Music Awards. Their meteoric rise to fame has been accompanied by the creation of a multifaceted empire that encompasses music, fashion, philanthropy, and more. Having solidified their standing in the music industry, the dynamic duo is now venturing into an entirely different domain – the high-stakes arena of venture capital.

They collaborated with entrepreneurs Milan Koch and Jeffrey Evans in 2020 and founded Mantis Venture Capital, focusing on supporting early-stage tech startups. Since its inception, Mantis VC has successfully secured over $110 million in funding, drawing investments from notable figures such as Mark Cuban, Keith Rabois, Jim Coulter, and Ron Conway. To date, Mantis VC has made strategic investments in nearly 200 groundbreaking companies spanning diverse industries, including healthcare, education, finance, and, naturally, music.

The Chainsmokers, characterized by the electronic production prowess of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, weave together indie, dance, and pop to create a chart-topping sound, resulting in multiple multi-platinum singles.

Their journey commenced with the release of their official debut single in 2014 – the chart-topping dance hit "#Selfie," offering a satirical take on the narcissism of the 2010s. Subsequent releases, such as "Roses" and the Grammy-winning "Don't Let Me Down," both achieved Top Ten pop status in 2016, each securing at least 5-times platinum certification. The summer of 2016 witnessed the ascent of "Closer," featuring Halsey on vocals, holding the top spot for 12 weeks and eventually achieving a remarkable 12-times platinum status. In 2017, Taggart and Pall transitioned from their aggressive EDM style to incorporate more pop and indie rock influences, yet maintained their platinum status with hits like "Something Just Like This" featuring Coldplay.

Their full-length debut, "Memories: Do Not Open," debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in 2017. The subsequent years saw a consistent release of singles, culminating in the albums "Sick Boy" (2018) and "World War Joy" (2019). Notably, their soundtrack contribution to 2020's "Words on Bathroom Walls" preceded another Top 40 hit in 2022 with "High" from their fourth set, "So Far So Good." In 2023, they continued their collaborative efforts with artists like Cheyenne Giles, Bludnymph, and others.

This multifaceted journey showcases The Chainsmokers' evolution from electronic music sensations to influential players in the venture capital landscape, illustrating their commitment to diversifying their impact across various industries.

The electronic duo has been actively involved in establishing Mantis Venture Capital since 2020. In the initial funding round, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart successfully secured $41 million, followed by an impressive $81 million in the subsequent round. Currently, they are setting their sights on surpassing these achievements with a third fund, concentrating on artificial intelligence and the evolution of Web 4.

Expanding Their Horizons

Statistics that Highlight Their Impact

Expanding Their Horizons

Recognizing the power of fashion to connect with fans, The Chainsmokers launched their clothing line, Chainsmokers Merch, in 2016. The line offers a range of apparel and accessories, reflecting their signature style and appealing to their fashion-forward fanbase.

The Chainsmokers Website
The Chainsmokers Website


With their growing platform, The Chainsmokers have embraced philanthropy, using their influence to support various causes. They have established their foundation, The Chainsmokers Foundation, which focuses on empowering youth through education and music. They have also partnered with organizations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation and Pencils of Promise, demonstrating their commitment to giving back.

Brand Partnerships

The Chainsmokers' popularity has made them attractive partners for brands seeking to connect with a younger demographic. They have collaborated with brands such as Spotify, Samsung, and BMW, showcasing their influence and appeal to a wider audience.

From Music to Startups to Venture: The Chainsmokers' Journey to Mantis VC | 2023 Upfront Summit

Statistics that Highlight Their Impact

  • Over 53 million monthly listeners on Spotify
  • Over 25 billion streams on Spotify
  • Over 40 million records sold worldwide
  • Numerous awards, including a Grammy Award, an American Music Award, and a Billboard Music Award
  • Clothing line, Chainsmokers Merch, with a global reach
  • Established foundation, The Chainsmokers Foundation, supporting youth empowerment
  • Collaborations with major brands, including Spotify, Samsung, and BMW

The Chainsmokers have maintained a low profile regarding their investment endeavors, channeling their resources into fintech companies such as Trace Finance and Vise, steering clear of consumer-oriented brands. Despite owning a stake in Jaja Tequila, they have deliberately refrained from featuring in advertising campaigns or leveraging their substantial social media following to showcase their investments.

Insiders suggest that the duo's intentional silence stems from their desire to establish a distinct brand for their business, one separate from their musical pursuits. They have chosen not to issue press releases, allowing the success of their investments to speak for itself. Rather than focusing on direct consumer engagement, they have dedicated their time to engaging with numerous investors.

Functioning in an advisory capacity, the duo has invested more than 10,000 hours comprehending the intricacies of the companies they collaborate with, involving tasks such as scrutinizing pitch decks, analyzing investments, and engaging with founders.

Beyond virtual platforms, the duo frequently engages in calls with engineers contemplating job offers at portfolio companies, leveraging their influence to support hiring efforts.

Alex Pall, aged 37, pursued studies in art history and music business at NYU, while Drew Taggart, aged 32, studied music at Syracuse University. Despite lacking a finance background, they have made noteworthy seed investments of approximately $250,000 in Ember, a coffee mug insulation company, and another investment in LoanSnap, a loan processing service.

In interviews, the duo has expressed admiration for "Margaritaville" singer Jimmy Buffett, citing him as an inspiration for seamlessly intertwining creativity and music writing with entrepreneurial understanding. Buffett's incorporation of a hospitality company inspired by his song "Margaritaville" serves as a model, leading to the creation of merchandise, casinos, restaurants, and even a retirement community.

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