Marcus Knight ’06: Black-owned business turbocharger

Sept. 14, 2021

Marcus Knight '06 When you help one promising tech company to hit ambitious sales growth targets, it could be dismissed as a fluke. Three times? That meant Marcus Knight ’06 had reached unicorn status.

Rather than stand pat, a year ago Mr. Knight redirected his expertise as a go-to-market strategist to start Cultured Perspective Inc. The consulting firm helps Black entrepreneurs to convert their ideas into successful businesses.

“Black and brown founders are not receiving venture capital at the same rate,” Mr. Knight says. Even when investors do look their way, the funds often come with strings attached.

Of course, to gain that reputation for the Midas touch, the Carthage alumnus first had to prove his own acumen. The rapid rise of MyButler, a personal butler service Mr. Knight launched in 2013, put him on the map.

Mr. Knight employed the same sales strategies to guide growth at Groupon, Talent Bin (later acquired by Monster), and Textio — an augmented writing platform that suggests alternative wording to make job postings, blogs, and other employer messaging more inclusive.

“I have a repeatable process that no one has been able to replicate,” he says.

Impatient to start his career, Mr. Knight left Carthage with just a few credits to go to complete his degree — a box he’s still determined to check off. He traces his resilience, grit, and curiosity to “keep digging into the ‘why’ until you understand” directly back to his days as a business student and cross country and track athlete.

Now living in Seattle, the heart of tech country, Mr. Knight divides his energy among four growing ventures. Besides the consultancy, those include Black With No Chaser, a multimedia platform with 15 million monthly viewers across the African diaspora; KIDKLTURE, an inclusive kids’ clothing line; and an online mentoring community for Black sales professionals.

He’s at home in the startup scene.

“You have to be comfortable with ambiguity and risk. I love building the rocket ship while it’s in midair,” Mr. Knight says. “And it’s paid off.”