It’s a hot summer evening, and you have no plans to go out whatsoever even though its Friday. You have just had a lovely Chinese takeaway dinner, and you are currently enjoying a cold glass of white wine on your balcony.
You scroll through Instagram stalking celebrities amongst other people, −like that one classmate you used to hate, wondering why you even have them on social media in the first place−. All you see on the celebrities’ posts is a beautiful summer-ish photo with an inspirational caption, and then #AD.
So many celebrities take fancy photos with products and services but it’s starting to get annoying right? From slimming teas, lip kits, fragrances, to services and apps. Ads are literally everywhere, and you know it because they must use the Ad hashtag when promoting stuff.
Social media is playing a significant role in our lives today −except for literally those 2 people you know who don’t want to have Facebook or Instagram for different reasons. − *crickets*
But then you notice that some of these posts are different. They don’t have the #AD, and they yet talk about a service or company. What does this even mean?
Many celebrities are starting to slowly become investors, making the division between Hollywood and Silicon Valley fade. Celebrities such as actors, singers and reality TV stars are known to invest in real estate, restaurants or retail besides their entertaining career. Nowadays, however, we witness them investing in the FinTech industry more than ever before.
Businesses even specialize in connecting celebrity investors with startup companies, in order to create brand awareness around the product/service and simultaneously make a profit as shareholders.
What Do They Invest in Though?
According to Toptal.com, celebrities invest in the following:
Series A or Series B Companies: While business is starting to mature and has developed an established revenue and base, it needs a “Series A” funding scheme to further grow and reach more markets. The “Series B” funding scheme is when an investor funds a business which is past the initial startup stage.
Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain: Celebrities have joined the cryptocurrency trend, such as Ashton Kutcher, Bill Gates, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Mike Tyson and several others.
Many have been sharing posts on their social media with the #bitcoin or #etherium and clarify that #ThisIsNotAnAd. Richard Hilton (Paris Hilton’s dad) even put his $38-million mansion up for an auction and allowed people to bid on it with bitcoin.
Esports: This booming global industry has gotten many celebrities, especially professional athletes, invest in it. Major investments have come from people of the industry such as Shaquille O’Neal and Alex Rodriguez, Mark Cuban, Rich Fox, and Jeremy Lin.
Traditional startups: Celebrities might prefer to invest in a startup company they actually believe it will bring a lot of success, and of course income. One of the most famous brands celebrities support is the mattress manufacturer Casper.
Ashton Kutcher, Nas, Scooter Braun, Steve Nash, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Tobey Maguire are just a few of the people who invested in the company.
The largest funding round a firm has ever received from celebrities since 2007 is the ride-sharing company Lyft, that raised $530 million in a Series E round.
Below we now present a list of 10+ celebrities who have invested in the Fintech industry and details about their new holdings.
The Oscar-winning actor has been involved with tech investing, backing up New York-based startups such as Qloo, a company that uses AI to understand the taste and cultural correlations, and Casper, a mattress manufacturer.
Additionally, when the “Jack Dawson” of our hearts isn’t on the red carpet or supporting environmental causes, he is also supporting eco-friendly brands such as Beyond Meat and Rubicon.
In 2009, the “Two and Half Men” star invested an undisclosed amount in Skype, until it was bought by Microsoft for $8.6 billion in 2011.
After creating “A-Grande Investments”, together with co-founders Guy Oseary and Ron Burkle, Kutcher invested in more than 50 different companies such as Casper, Getaground, Airbnb and e-commerce company Fab.
Kutcher also invested 12 million dollars in Bitcoin on behalf of his venture and his review about Bitcoin is secured and good results for investments.
Leto admitted that his so far best investment creatively and financially speaking was in Nest Labs, which Google bought for $3.2 billion in 2014.
The queen of pop fell in love with Vita Coco coconut water while drinking it every day on her tours. In fact, she loved it so much she decided to invest in the brand $1.5 million in 2010.
Similarly, other celebrities also decided to invest in Vita Coco, such as Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary, actors Matthew McConaughey and Demi Moore, and Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis.
The pop legend also invested in the Swedish music streaming service Tidal a third of which sold to Sprint for $200 million.
Bieber has been keeping his investments on the hush-hush for a few years now. In 2009 he invested in his first startup without revealing the company’s name.
Bieber also led the selfie sharing app Shots $1.1 million seed round. After posting about using it, the app’s popularity rocketed and raised an $8.5 million Series A funds.
Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres decided to invest in the app Stamped for a $1.5 million seed round. Stamped is an app for reviewing businesses, restaurants, products, moves, locations etc.
Other celebrities such as Ryan Seacrest and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt also liked this idea and decided to join in the investment.
In 2012, Marissa Mayer the CEO of Yahoo purchased the startup for $10 million.
The well-known rapper Snoop Dogg has shown interest in cryptocurrency the past couple of years. In fact, in 2013 he ever tweeted that he was interested to accept Bitcoin payment for his music.
The rapper also made a collaboration with Swedish banking company Klarna, where he was presented as the face in their upcoming advertising campaign. In return, the company will give the musician shares.
Mogul Jay-Z does more than just rap. Having launched a new fund called Marcy Venture Partners, the rapper has backed up many startups in the past such as luggage maker Away, private plane company JetSmarter and FinTech unicorn Robinhood.
Will Smith isn’t just “The Prince of Bellaire” but also a prince in the investors’ world.
Recently announced plans to create a startup fund of $100 million with Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda, the actor has no doubt an incredible portfolio of investments that includes SPARK Neuro, Stance, Away, Julep, Fancy and many other startups.
Besides making awesome movies, the sweet actress Jessica Alba founded and currently guides The Honest Company’s overall strategy, creative marketing and product innovation.
The actress stated “I founded The Honest Company because I wanted safe, effective products that perform. After all, you shouldn’t have to choose between what works and what’s good for you.”
Alba also invested in tech startups such as Headspace, Honor and New York-based Managed by Q.
The lead singer of U2, co-founded a company called Elevation Partners in 2004 focusing on media, technology, entertainment and currently manages $1.9 billion in assets.
In 2010, the company bought $120 million in Facebook stock, and after its IPO in 2012 sold off 11.5% of its shares. This netted Bono an estimated $10 million.
New York rapper Nas and his manager Anthony Selah pledged to give more than half of their whole portfolio to startup companies.
As a result, the duo invested in dozens of startups such as Bitcoin services provider Coinbase, text annotation website Rap Genius (now called Genius), and the online art community DeviantArt, Lyft, Propel and many others.
Nas also invests through his venture fund called Queensbridge Venture Partners, which has made 40-plus startup investments since 2011.
“Investing with the Stars”
Many celebrities either participate in campaigns with company stocks in return, invest their money in a startup for profit, or invest money with the hope and risk that something good will come out of it.
As celebrities age and slowly settle down in their careers, it’s very positive that they wish to invest their money and time into a new promising business.
Regardless of the reason behind it, large amounts of money are being invested in the FinTech industry, turning it into an even faster-growing business both for established and startup companies.