Marcus Whitney drove into Nashville, TN for the first time on Labor Day of 2000 as a 24-year-old college dropout knowing absolutely no one, and within 15 minutes of arriving was serving margaritas and fajitas at Rio Bravo Cantina to begin making a new life for his young family. Almost two decades later, Marcus has become an undisputed power player in the meteoric rise of the city and consistently showing that his range of ability is not limited to his background or credentials.
After teaching himself how to code, in between waiting tables on double shifts seven days a week, Marcus became the first Chief Architect of Emma Email Marketing, Nashville’s most successful homegrown marketing technology company, acquired by Campaign Monitor.
Marcus went on to co-found the most active healthcare innovation venture capital fund in the US, Jumpstart Foundry. Jumpstart’s combined funds now manage a portfolio of over 80 innovative health companies and spun out a sister company Health:Further, which started as a tier-one innovation healthcare conference and has evolved to become a strategic advisory firm serving healthcare blue-chip CEOs on their innovation strategies.
Most recently, Marcus was principally responsible for bringing professional soccer to Nashville. He served as the Chairman of the city’s amateur team, Nashville Football Club, and navigated that organization through the process of building an investor group and successfully being granted a franchise as Nashville Soccer Club in the United Soccer League (USL Championship). Marcus then worked with this investor group to merge efforts with Nashville Soccer Holdings, which went on to successfully be granted an expansion team in Major League Soccer.
From no-name waiter to marketing technology leader, to venture capitalist to pro sports team owner. And his story is just beginning.
Marcus began telling his story at TEDxNashville in 2014 and realized that there was real value to the story and that it could impact others. He set out to tell that story in a more complete way in 2015 by launching a successful Kickstarter for a book called Create and Orchestrate that he would release, telling his story and codifying his philosophy. While he believed he would release the book within a year, life happened and added new dimensions to the project and his perspective.
The convergence of the difficulty of building two businesses at one time, Jumpstart / Health:Further and Nashville Soccer Club, raising two teenage boys and being a newly remarried man combined to create serious emotional challenges for Marcus. From 2015 through 2018, Marcus accomplished much professionally and struggled much personally. A deeper meaning emerged.
Through his work at Health:Further, talking about the challenges of healthcare in America, it became obvious that two systems of health were being completely under-addressed, and were causing much of the stress on the healthcare system today. Chronic disease driven by socio-economic factors and habits, and mental health issues which are largely unaddressed due to stigmas and shaming in society. This awareness forced introspection and made Marcus find the resolve to begin to take action regarding his own issues in both areas.
After dealing with his first bout of real depression in his life in 2017 due to the difficulty of all life was throwing at him both in business and in his personal life, Marcus decided to commit to exercise in 2018 as a way to begin reclaiming agency and working towards a healthier state of being. That process proved to be game-changing. By the end of 2018, Marcus was significantly stronger physically, had attained his Black Belt in HapKiDo after years of working towards it, and also came to understand that exercise alone was not enough. he would have to work on his mental health as well if he was going to truly make strides towards being a healthy, whole human being.
In late 2018, Marcus began therapy and started to address decades of unaddressed trauma that was triggering self-sabotaging behavior. Therapy was the turning point. After therapy Marcus quit drinking and began meditating, two new behaviors that changed his life. In 2019, he launched a new podcast called Marcus Whitney’s Audio Universe and a YouTube channel called Marcus Whitney’s Video Universe, where he featured creative entrepreneurs alongside recordings of his own speaking engagements. He also relaunched a newsletter called The Grind, which was a journal for him to be open about the challenges he faced and how he was focusing on wellbeing.
2019 was one of Marcus’s best years ever. A year of clarity, sobriety, health, mindfulness, and achievement. His businesses are healthier than ever, his mind is clearer than ever and his ambition is now set to a clear purpose:
To inspire good people to develop their Creative Power®.
If 2019 was a year of deliverance for Marcus, 2020 will be a year of delivering.
At the end of 2019, Marcus decided to end The Grind, marking the completion of a phase of his hero’s journey, and evolve the newsletter. It is now called “Two Worlds," named after the penultimate stage of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth: The Master of Two Worlds. The newsletter now serves as a weekly message to modern-day heroes, reminding them of their Creative Power® and encouraging them to step into the unknown to find out just how great they are.
Marcus’s long-awaited book, Create and Orchestrate, now being shepherded by Scribe Media, will be published in late Q2 of 2020.
Nashville Soccer Club will play its first season in Major League Soccer in 2020.
Jumpstart will invest in its 100th company in 2020.
Health:Further will expand its practice throughout the US and into the UK in 2020.
Marcus will double down on his content creation, focusing all his writing, media creation, public speaking under the Creative Power® brand, and launching new ways to connect with people as well as connecting people to other people in support of their goals in 2020.
He is dedicating this year to awakening and gathering the heroes that the world so desperately needs.
If you are seeking a creative, purposeful life, where you can push through your boundaries and overcome adversity, then you and Marcus are probably going to be friends.
Marcus Whitney is President and co-founder of Briovation, an Innovation Catalyst company with the mission to be the catalyst of the world’s most important health innovations. Through Briovation, Marcus is CEO of Health:Further, a strategic advisory firm working with leading healthcare organizations to navigate disruptive change for their benefit; as well as Founding Partner of Jumpstart Health Investors, a new kind of venture capital firm focused on innovative, early-stage healthcare companies. Jumpstart’s seed fund, Jumpstart Foundry has a portfolio of over 80 companies including ScriptDrop, Life Detection Technologies and Sightbox (sold to Johnson and Johnson Vision).
Marcus is also co-founder and minority owner of Nashville Soccer Club, the city’s Major League Soccer team. Marcus has been listed in the Upstart 100 by Upstart Business Journal, Power 100 by Nashville Business Journal, and has been featured in Inc., Techcrunch, Fast Company and The Atlantic.
Marcus is the author of the upcoming book Create and Orchestrate, a book for entrepreneurs about living a creative, purposeful life, breaking through boundaries and overcoming adversity. Marcus is also the producer and host of Marcus Whitney’s Video Universe, a video channel on YouTube that features a variety of mid-to-long form video shows, and Marcus Whitney’s Audio Universe, a podcast on all major platforms.
Marcus is a member of the board of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation and an Arts Commissioner for the city of Nashville.