At a party feting the book on Thursday hosted by Norman Pearlstine, chief content officer of Time Inc., Fortune’s publisher, Horowitz was still autographing copies even as he tried to walk out the door. “Uh, yeah, this is way more attention than I’m used to getting,” said Horowitz, wearing shiny sneakers and a Jawbone activity-tracking bracelet, made by another company he funded.
Nas, the famous rapper, is scheduled to interview Horowitz, a friend, at SXSW on March 9. “Ben schools me about hip-hop,” Nas admitted in the Fortune profile. The combination of the two, Moghadam hinted to Fortune, just might lead to a surprise performance. “I hope he does,” he said. “I really hope he does. I think he should rap.” When Pearlstine asked Horowitz during an interview at the book party if he would rap for the audience, however, Horowitz declined.
Plenty of entrepreneurs launch new products at the giant 10-day conference, which started Friday, and more than 1,000 musicians will perform during SXSW’s latter festival portion this year. But a VC rapping through the tech-focused panel discussions might be, as the startup community likes to say, disruptive.
If anyone could pull it off, it would be Horowitz, who was known for his rap-spiced business lessons (which form the basis of his book) on his blog and in Silicon Valley even before he revealed his hip-hop alter-ego, Tic Toc, this week. Horowitz chose to tell the full origin story of his rap career, however, not in his book but in a personal post on his own site and on Rap Genius. In it, he emotionally describes learning in college that his close family friend, Seth Clark (whom he calls his “brother”), had been shot in the face, leaving him unable to see. Clark became “The Blind MC,” the inspiration and lead voice in their rap group.
Horowitz has also assigned rapper names to his business partners, including Marc Andreessen. “He calls Marc ‘Big Tunechi,’” a play on the Twitter handle of rapper Lil Wayne, which is @LilTunechi, Moghadam said.
To be sure, entrepreneurs are grateful just for Horowitz’s venture funding and startup expertise, let alone his rhyming prowess.
“I almost feel like we acquired them, rather than them investing in us,” Georg Petschnigg, CEO of FiftyThree, which makes an iPad drawing app called Paper, said at the book party.
But who wouldn’t want to see Horowitz, a.k.a. Tic Toc, show off his skills outside of the board room? If anything, a SXSW rap stunt would be great publicity for his book, all sales of which benefit American Jewish World Service, an organization that helps struggling women.
“As far as I know, Ben has no plans to rap onstage,” a spokesperson for Horowitz said, minutes after landing in Austin. Still, we can dream.