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Adrian Grenier Turned His Again on Hollywood for Entrepreneurship

You in all probability acknowledge Adrian Grenier’s face from his position as Vincent Chase from Entourage or reverse Anne Hathaway because the loyal boyfriend within the everlasting The Satan Wears Prada. However you won’t acknowledge him as an investor, entrepreneur, and farmer.

After rising disillusioned with the glare of Hollywood lights, Grenier gave all of it as much as construct a legacy that may maintain after the cameras reduce and accolades ended.

In 2019, alongside his co-CEO and founder Bia Carminati, Grenier launched DuContra Ventures, which brings buyers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders collectively to create a yield past cash.

DuContra has invested in 20 companies throughout finance, well being, water, and meals verticals. In 2022, Grenier got here again in entrance of the digicam and launched Earth Velocity Media, a nature-based life-style model that celebrates the ability of group and self-reliance.

His new outlook on enterprise and life begins early every morning when he wakes up at dawn to take care of rooster s***.

Working From the Pack

Carrying a sweat-soaked linen shirt and a large wicker hat, Greiner adjusts his iPhone to get the appropriate angle.

As we speak, on his farm on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, no assistants rush round with up to date schedules, no make-up artists contact up his brow, and no DPs direct him to hit the appropriate mark. On this scorching sizzling day, Grenier hits document alone together with his million-dollar smile beaming on the lens.

Within the video, he explains how he’s constructing the muse of his first-ever rooster run. The undertaking is a part of Grenier’s unending checklist of duties for managing his acres of Hill Nation farmland.

“These chickens deserve a run, and now they’ve bought it,” Grenier says to the digicam as a purple nightfall shrouds the hardly seen enclosure.

Greiner purchased his first plot of farmland in 2016 and has been increasing it since. His spouse, Jordan Greiner, named the farm “Kintsugi” after the Japanese methodology of repairing damaged pottery with gold.

Greiner’s favourite spot on the farm is a seat in his vegetable backyard. “It’s only a nice little chair that once I’m sweating an excessive amount of, I simply kick my ft up and sit below the palm tree,” Grenier says.

Grenier is busier than ever—however a special sort of busy than what he grew accustomed to in present enterprise.

For greater than twenty years, he paid his dues within the Hollywood leisure machine as an actor, producer, and director. However over the previous 5 years, Greiner’s IMDb profile has grown sparse.

That’s because of a radical change in his life-style.

The shift began virtually a decade in the past when Entourage, HBO’s raunchy buddy-comedy, wrapped its closing season. Grenier performed the lead character, Vincent Chase, alongside an ensemble solid that obtained a number of Emmy nominations. Fittingly, the plot of Entourage facilities round Chase, a rising film star, and the antics of his pack of power-hungry minions.

Similar to his character, Grenier struggled to match the tempo required by stardom, which included touring throughout the globe, events, occasions, and paparazzi. Even shifting behind the digicam as a producer and director didn’t quell the pressures of working in an trade that feeds the now and constantly asks, “What have you ever accomplished for me currently?”

“As kids, we are usually a little bit bit myopic and laser give attention to … standing—discovering your house in society and climbing the ranks socially and being profitable,” Grenier says.

“I wished to breathe every single day.”

In 2016, Grenier purchased a 1967 Pink Dale camper on Craigslist and drove 1,300 miles from Los Angeles to Austin. He purchased a small plot of land on the town’s outskirts and parked his trailer with a plan to stay off the land. Then, for a 12 months, he skilled what he calls the “darkish evening of the soul.” The 12 months grew to become a collection of non-public {and professional} introspections specializing in slowing down and connecting with the earth. He emerged from that 12 months a special individual.

Greiner’s retreat from Hollywood was distinctive for somebody with a syndicated hit present and a number of movies rewatched by loyal followers. However don’t let the charming playboy nature of his most iconic position idiot you. Greiner’s at all times been a insurgent.

Promoting Swill and Failing Slowly

Grenier calls himself a through-and-through New Yorker. Although he was born in New Mexico and spent most of his profession in Los Angeles, he credit the Massive Apple for his childhood as an artist.

“I spent a few years as a punk insurgent in New York, enjoying in bands, making indie movies, doing every part that I may to not generate income, like every part in my energy to do the other of being profitable,” Grenier says. “And I used to be massively profitable in that [laughs].”

However finally, a hungry stomach motivated Grenier to maneuver. So he shipped out to the West Coast, the place he rapidly began getting roles in films, on TV, and even an look in a Britney Spears music video. Then in 2004, he was solid within the Mark Wahlberg-produced HBO present Entourage, reworking his rebellious repute into bona fide stardom.

Performing success allowed him to commit to private tasks between capturing seasons of Entourage and have movies. The tasks included beginning Reckless Productions, which produces documentaries round social change, and developed into dabbling in entrepreneurship and investing, notably within the tech area.

Grenier started investing in small tasks based totally on private connections with founders. Lots of them failed, and he discovered the hazard of naive commitments.

“I used to be in it extra for the concepts, and I used to be simply swayed by the imaginative and prescient of the founder,” Grenier says. “As a artistic individual, when somebody tells me a narrative, my mind lights up, and I can think about it, and I seduce myself. I’m virtually complicit with the founder in making me imagine within the factor versus being extra skeptical and poking holes.”

Ultimately, Grenier bought the itch to get his palms soiled with entrepreneurship. As a substitute of investing in an concept, he wished to construct a enterprise from scratch.

In 2012, he co-founded a microbrewery referred to as Churchkey Can Firm.

“I keep in mind my agent referred to as me, and he’s like, ‘Oh, you bastard, you’re going to be a billionaire from beer, not performing,’” Grenier says. “Everybody beloved this firm.”

Churchkey introduced again the flat-top tin beer cans popularized within the mid-Twentieth century.

“They had been principally oil cans that had been robust. You couldn’t squeeze them, and also you needed to crack them open,” Grenier says. “And so we had this outdated hipster kind of nostalgia.”

The beer was marketed as a premium product with a microbrewed, triple-hopped, filtered pilsner contained in the throwback cans.

Grenier rapidly discovered that beginning a enterprise—notably within the aggressive beverage area—is difficult. “The beer beverage enterprise … is a pennies sport,” he says.

“You’ve bought to promote quite a lot of this swill to make any cash.”

Accordingly, the primary downside Churchkey confronted was pricing. In an effort to faucet into nostalgia, the microbrewery backed itself right into a nook, competing towards the most important breweries in America that had offered the identical flat-top beer cans half a century in the past. However Churchkey’s break-even six-pack value couldn’t compete with a similar-tasting pilsner from trade behemoths like Anheuser-Busch, Pabst, or MillerCoors.

“The actual, elementary cause why it didn’t work was we had some canning issues as a result of we had been primarily reinventing the can as a result of the entire of the beverage trade had moved towards standardization round aluminum keep tabs,” Grenier says. “It simply was cost-prohibitive contemplating our margins and the beer trade.”

Although Churchkey had regional reputation within the Pacific Northwest and have become a best-seller at Entire Meals, it wasn’t sufficient to maintain the enterprise afloat.

“I believe I misplaced 10 kilos when that enterprise went below,” Grenier jokes. “In order that’s how a lot enjoyable weight I had gained.”

Grenier says Churchkey taught him concerning the hazard of “sluggish failure.”

“Whenever you fail quick, you be taught, and you then adapt. However [for] these of us that refuse to fail, we don’t need to fail, so we maintain on to failure.”

He describes the sensation of sluggish failure like hitting all-time low, sliding, and scraping your face on the stone.

“It took us like two years to lastly settle for that it was over. I didn’t take it properly. I didn’t need to fail,” Grenier says. “You could possibly maintain pouring cash into it and borrowing cash and attempting to avoid wasting face, salvage a dream, however you possibly can extend agony.”

By way of his experiences with Churchkey and different failed ventures just like the app Popcorn, Grenier realized that he wanted to be extra cynical when approaching enterprise concepts.

“You’ve bought to be taught to poke holes and kill your darlings, and there’s a distinction between an awesome concept and an awesome enterprise.”

After a bleak break into entrepreneurship, Grenier discovered himself parking a retro trailer on a patch of land in Texas. He’d left his outdated life, and he was about to rework into a special sort of artist and entrepreneur.

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A Rebellious Ally

After twenty years in Hollywood, dabbling in investing and seeing the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, Greiner discovered that the vicious nature of his life wasn’t sustainable.

“I at all times felt unhealthy for these enterprise individuals who had been so cutthroat and had been battling it out within the boardroom as a result of I really feel like there’d be little or no belief,” Grenier says. “As a result of once you’re swimming with sharks, and also you’re a shark, that’s simply the life you’ve constructed.”

In Austin, Grenier was rising a shark-free life.

He bought concerned in environmental work, serving to begin Lonely Whale, a nonprofit group that strives to stop plastic waste from getting into the earth’s oceans. On panels and press junkets, he’d focus his dialog on the atmosphere, self-empowerment, and earth-empowerment. In 2018, Grenier’s advocacy earned him the title of United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, a place he holds in the present day.

In the meantime, his trailer life-style had reworked right into a farm life-style. Grenier had completely moved to the Lone Star State and hoped to share his imaginative and prescient for a collaborative group centered on the land. And he wished his investments to replicate the aim of his day-to-day life.

That’s when Bia Carminati grew to become the collaborator Grenier wanted.

“She reached out to me a couple of years in the past as a result of she has a household workplace the place she represents individuals of affect with a worldwide or a public presence, and she or he needs to assist them align their investments with their values—which, in fact, I used to be excellent for,” Grenier says.

Whereas Grenier transitioned to his earth-centered life in Austin, he and Carminati continued creating their relationship, which finally led to the launch of DuContra Ventures in 2019. “DuContra” comes from the Portuguese phrase which means “insurgent” or “in opposition or distinction to.” The corporate blends affect investing with transformative experiences and private improvement.

The partnership has allowed Greiner to pursue the tasks he loves whereas defending his admitted whimsy for human-centered tales.

“She helped me formalize my ragtag arbitrary shoot-from-the-hip investments and make it into a proper enterprise thesis that we may truly elevate cash towards,” Grenier says.

When Grenier and Carminati meet with potential enterprise companions, they give attention to the human earlier than the enterprise.

“You meet the human earlier than you make the deal, versus quite a lot of occasions it’s the deal in any respect prices,” Grenier says. “I’ve acknowledged over time that there’s good cash, after which there’s simple cash, after which there’s heart-centered cash.”

He describes heart-centered cash as investing in individuals dedicated to long-term progress in comparison with simple cash, which is fickle.

“Straightforward cash is usually very harmful cash as a result of it at all times involves chunk you within the a**,” Grenier says.

“Straightforward cash is usually very harmful cash as a result of it at all times involves chunk you within the a**,”

Whereas the enterprise facet of Grenier’s life grew to become balanced, his need to inform tales he’d cast as a reckless artist in New York by no means left him. In 2022, he launched Earth Velocity Media, which chronicles his quest for self-improvement whereas highlighting subjects targeted on enhancing the world.

“I’ve a platform that kind of spans popular culture and fashionable tradition,” Grenier says. “So I believed, ‘Nicely, hey, I may possibly bridge the hole between these two worlds and make one thing extraordinarily accessible and fashionable and open.’ … I discovered the maturity sufficient to convey all of it into kind of resonance the place I can now make investments […], and I can actually give attention to the massive image, which is mission-aligned imaginative and prescient and values.”

“I can actually give attention to the massive image, which is mission-aligned imaginative and prescient and values.”

Earth Velocity’s content material is streaming on YouTube and Instagram. It contains interviews with thought leaders corresponding to Dr. Zach Bush, founding father of Farmer’s Footprint, Queen Diambi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and creator Simon Sinek. Grenier additionally options the companies he’s invested in, together with Coronary heart Water, Producers Market, and World Tree. The episode subjects heart on a separate problem dealing with the earth, corresponding to vitamin independence or regeneration, all set on location at his homestead in Texas.

All through his profession, Grenier has at all times returned to his intuition to go towards the norm. Even within the face of worldwide stardom, he reached for a special life, a special pace—one which elevates his creative and entrepreneurial imaginative and prescient.

“I didn’t need to be so fast-paced and at all times on the go with out taking time to actually soak up my life on the earth and see how I may be of service to somebody,” Grenier says. “Like [a] ‘get up and odor the roses’ sort perspective. However this time, I’m truly rising roses.”

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