Scooter Braun is having a rough year — and not just because high-profile clients like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato have reportedly dropped him.
The Hollywood super agent — who has been branded by Taylor Swift as a “manipulative bully” amid years of hard-knuckle disputes over her master recordings — is also on the outs with his co-founders at TQ Ventures, an investment fund he helped launch in 2018, On The Money has learned.
One source with direct knowledge said Braun’s co-founders — Andrew Marks, son of investing legend Howard Marks; and Schuster Tanger, heir to the Tanger Outlets mall fortune — have lately told some LPs that Scooter may not be involved in TQ’s future.
Braun, Tanger and Marks each took an equal share at the fund’s inception even though Braun was not involved in the day-to-day operations, insiders said.
Initially, Marks and Tanger had been optimistic Braun’s celebrity connections could round out their financial expertise — potentially helping find investments or help their portfolio companies with marketing, sources said.
Now, however, Marks and Tanger are reconsidering Braun’s involvement in the fund, claiming he didn’t live up to their expectations, the insiders added.
It’s unclear if that means Braun’s stake in the next fund will be diminished or eliminated altogether.
Given only 20% of the firm’s most recent fund has been deployed so far, there is time to make a final determination.
Sources close to Braun counter that TQ relied on his name to raise money and get access to good deals. Now that they’ve established their reputation, they could cast Braun aside, the sources said.
“This is one time that Scooter was in the right,” the source said. “Andrew and Schuster knifed him after using him to raise their fund and get into deals.”
Marks began his career at Blackstone before jumping to Blue Ridge Capital.
Tanger worked at Goldman Sachs then Dan Loeb’s Third Point Capital.
It’s unclear how the fund — which is focused on early stage and growth startups — has performed. It launched pre-COVID as valuations for crypto and consumer packaged goods were skyrocketing.
It launched pre-COVID as valuations for crypto and consumer packaged goods were skyrocketing.
Some of TQ’s investments include popular electrolyte mix Liquid IV, trendy makeup brand Kosas, and men’s health giant Roman.
Other investments TQ mentions on its website, including Clubhouse and BeReal, were wildly popular during the pandemic but have since flamed out.
Braun, meanwhile, has his own business, SB Projects, through which he manages artists.
He has also personally invested in Uber, Spotify, Casper, Waze, Dropbox, and Pinterest, according to his website.
On a podcast in April, Braun praised his co-founders and revealed they raised $500 million in the last fund.
“The thing I love about those guys… They’re brilliant guys. And the thing I like about them is when they get in there with founders, they’re not just guys who are like, okay, we’re going to back you with some money. They actually understand how to be there with founders and help them pivot in those tough times,” Braun said in the interview.
But since then, things have soured.
A spokesperson for Braun declined to comment.
A spokesperson for TQ declined to comment.
Braun has faced a long-simmering spat with Swift, who claims he was unwilling to sell her the rights to her own master recordings and instead sold them to private equity.
Braun disputes the claims.