When we think of celebrities, the first thing that usually comes to our mind is their lifestyle. The fancy cars, big mansions, luxury fashions, and expensive holidays they splurge millions on. But for many of these stars, it’s much more than a fancy lifestyle. An incredible number of celebrities are also big-time investors. Here are some of the companies and start-ups with celebrity investments in them.
Nas might be an inspiration to many hip-hop artists when it comes to making music. But did you know he’s also an inspiration when it comes to business? The legendary rapper invested in the $3.5 million Series A funding of MadeFire, a digital motions book company, back in 2013. In 2016, Drake followed the legend’s footsteps by investing in the $6.5 million Series B funding. The company is clearly on to something big as it has a partnership with Oculus for producing Virtual Reality comic books.
In an age where mental health has become increasingly important, new-age wellness practices have also become significant, and celebrities are investing in them. HeadSpace is a meditation app that also includes guided exercises and courses on mindfulness.
It has been in existence for a while now, and part of those who invested in its $34.3 series A funding back in 2014 included stars such as Jessica Alba, Jared Leto, Ryan Seacrest, and Cash Warren. The company has received $75.2 million in equity funding over the years.
Does that name sound like something for a food production company to you? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Gobbler is a digital subscription service made for audio engineers.
It provides audio software for these professionals, and unsurprisingly, many of its investors are in the music business themselves. Elton John, John Legend, Jared Leto, Ryan Tedder, and Troy Carter all invested in its seed rounds. Gobbler has an equity funding of $6.33 million so far.
It’s challenging to rival Starbucks in coffee, but companies are trying to do just that by being different. Philz is a coffee chain that has been in existence for about 25 years now. It had a big moment in 2015 when celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Jonah Hill, Jamie Kennedy, and the producer of Pulp Fiction, Lawrence Bender, invested in it. The $15 million Series B funding enabled the company to add ten new stores to its 18 existing stores.
Jared Leto is a consummate investor, as you can probably tell by now. The Joker star also invested in the $15 million Series A funding of Reserve, an app that plans your event for you. Reserve makes restaurant recommendations and reservations, organize and send invites, and help pay bills before they are brought to your table. Jared wasn’t the only celebrity who invested in this. Others like Will.i.am, Jon Favreau, and WME, the talent agency representing several celebrities, also invested.
Many celebrities invest their money into media companies, and that’s not surprising, given that’s what they understand best. In 2013, several A-List stars took part in the $2.7 million seed funding for Shots Studio.
They include Justin Bieber, Omar Epps, Floyd Mayweather, and Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. The company also works with several social media stars, from famous Youtubers to former Vine experts. As of August 2017, Forbes reported that the eight creator roster of Shots Studio had more than 3 billion views on YouTube. In addition, the company has raised $15.2 million in total equity.
Casper produces mattresses designed for maximum comfort, and who doesn’t like a good sleep. As a result, celebrities have invested in the company, especially in its Series B and Series C funding rounds. Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Levine, Scooter Braun, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and Shaun White. With an equity funding of $239.7 million over the years, it is one of the most funded start-ups backed by celebrities.
It’s one thing to invest in. Another is to buy the whole company. That’s what Jay Z did with Tidal in 2015 when he purchased Aspiro, the company that owns Tidal, for $56 million. Other celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Coldplay, Nicki Minaj, Kayne West, Calvin Harris, Coldplay, Madonna, and Jason Aldean also invested by buying 3% of the company’s shares.
In 2017, Sprint bought 33% of the music streaming service for $200 million. While Tidal has had few successes and early investors have probably made their money back, it is a small dog compared to streaming giants such as Spotify and Apple Music. Tidal has also had its share of controversy, from allegations of inflated streaming numbers to lawsuits.
StockX is an online marketplace for sneakers, handbags, and watches. So, it’s not surprising that stars have invested heavily in it. The likes of legendary basketballer Magic Johnson and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert invested in several funding rounds.
Talent manager Scooter Braun also invested, and so did Mark Wahlberg. The move appears to be paying off because the company got $44 million in additional funding with celebrities such as Karlie Kloss and Steve Aoki and the investment arm of Google, GV, and Battery Ventures investing in the company.
The popular retail stock trading app Robinhood, which was at the center of the GameStop trading fiasco, has been in the business for a while. Several celebrities were part of its early investors. Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto invested in its $13 Series A funding in 2014. Linkin’s venture capital firm, Machine Shop Ventures, also invested in the 2015 Series B funding. Rap Icon Nasir “Nas” Jones is also an early investor.
Another prolific investor is Nas, who seems to always get in on every opportunity. In 2011, he invested in Stance, the luxury sock company. It was his first major investment, and since then, he’s invested in many others. But Nas isn’t alone. Other celebrities such as Will Smith and Troy Carter also invested in the $6 million Series A funding.
This start-up raised about $162 million in its funding between 2014 to 2016. Its simple goal was offering organic products from several makers at a lower price. Several stars were part of the early investors, including Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Demi Moore, and John Legend.
This mobile app enables users to record and save information on social media. Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Baron Davis, Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun, and Ryan Seacrest participated in the seed funding. Unfortunately, the investment didn’t exactly turn out as great as anyone would expect. Yahoo bought the app for $10 million later in 2012, and the company shut down and merged to be part of Yahoo’s mobile division.
This photo and video sharing app was launched in 2010 to compete with Vine and Instagram. Lance Armstrong, Serena Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tobey Maguire invested in the company. But it packed up in 2016. But in 2017, Mobli sold one of its patents for $7.7 million.
There are start-ups, and then there’s Uber. The ride-hailing company has received the most funding of all the companies on this list. The company has raised $22.2 billion in funding since it started. Ashton Kutcher was one of the first investors back in 2011 as he saw the start-ups potential early enough. Other celebrities who have invested include Jay Z, Britney Spears, and Troy Carter.
Celebrities are more than just stars who live flashy and public lives. Many of them are also prolific investors who know how to spot start-ups with potential unicorns and they are securing their financial future.