Sherrard Harrington: Startup and Venture Capital Maven

Overcoming adversity to fund tech startups

Sherrard Harrington is no stranger to the tech startup game, but he's trying to change the stigma of venture capital with his latest company. 

An outdoor portrait of Sherrard Harrington.
Sherrard Harrington

Harrington is the co-founder and president of Miami-based EONXI, a 2-year-old startup studio and venture fund investing in early-stage technology companies in the gaming, sports, blockchain, and entertainment sectors. He was inspired to start his company because his peers often came to him with questions about getting involved in the entrepreneurial landscape. 

Despite successfully growing a previous business, Harrington said people in the venture capital world often have doubted his ability to run EONXI. He's here to prove them wrong.  

"I dealt with adversity from people thinking I'm not qualified to raise capital, or raise a fund, or deploy capital from a fund or anything like that," Harrington told Lifewire in a phone interview. 

EONXI operates under two umbrellas: EONXI Ventures, which manages the company's venture fund, and EONXI Studio, the company's incubation engine that helps seed-stage startups in targeted sectors to launch and scale. EONXI already has made investments in tech startups, including Dapper Labs, a Canada-based company delivering blockchain experiences and products. 

Quick Facts

Name: Sherrard Harrington

Age: 28

From: Washington, D.C.

Games he plays: Madden and NBA2K on PlayStation 

Key quote or motto he lives by: “Impact has no quotas. Impact has no limit. It never ends.”

From Serial Entrepreneur to Venture Capital Maven

Harrington first got his start in entrepreneurship when he was on a football scholarship at the University of Colorado. He switched his focus when he experienced a career-ending injury during his freshman year.

"I was trying to figure out what was next in my journey," he said. "I was fortunate to be in Boulder, Colorado, where Techstars and a lot of these big-time firms were just starting. I was fortunate to have those same mentors as professors that were working in the entrepreneurial landscape."

In that same first year of college, Harrington started a multi-family real estate fund. He even raised some venture capital before he sold that company, and eventually launched EONXI.

While getting his current venture off the ground, Harrington teamed with Brooklyn Nets player Spencer Dinwiddie. Harrington helped Dinwiddie design an office, learn about blockchain, and learn how to invest in tech startups.

Dinwiddie is now a general partner at EONXI, along with three others. The rest of EONXI's team includes product managers, developers, marketers, and sales representatives. 

A closeup portrait of Sherrard Harrington.
Sherrard Harrington

For its first venture capital vehicle, EONXI deployed $1 million of its own money to eight tech startups, with investment deals averaging anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 each.

EONXI now focuses on raising its second fund of $100 million to invest even more.

On the startup studio side of the business, EONXI works with tech entrepreneurs to develop concepts that potentially could spin out as separate entities. EONXI recently secured a partnership with Apple to develop an accelerator program for entrepreneurs focusing on low-code software. 

"We have an industry-agnostic approach with the studio," Harrington said. 

From Adversity to Success

Since EONXI already had a distributed team across the US, Harrington said the company easily adjusted to the remote work life when the pandemic hit. The company also closed a funding round at the beginning of last year, which helped it stay afloat. 

"We were fortunate to weather the storm during that time," Harrington said about the uncertainty of the economy when the pandemic hit. 

I was fortunate to have those same mentors as professors that were working in the entrepreneurial landscape.

As for challenges in growing EONXI, Harrington said he faced a ton of adversity, especially at the beginning of his entrepreneurial career. Since he was so young coming into the private equity landscape, Harrington said he had to dispel a lot of doubt from people in the industry.

"Going to a community like Boulder from [Washington] DC, I would say the population in Colorado was heavily white, not many Black folks," he said. "I had some disadvantages because I didn't look like my peers who were out there raising capital. But, I did have an advantage because I didn't look like the traditional individuals out there, so people wanted to know who I was."

As the company raises capital for its second venture fund, Harrington said EONXI is still focused on helping its portfolio companies accrue revenue. The company also is planning to release a new product. He tries not to get too caught up in doubt and focus on his company's progress.

"I want to allocate resources to other people that look like me and people who need opportunities," he said. "We want to play a factor in that."

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