Entrepreneur

10 Popular Celebrities You Never Knew Were Also Startup Investors

Recently, news broke that Grammy winning artist/queen, Beyonce, has decided to expand her repertoire and invest in a tech startup.

According to TechCrunch, the singer, who owns management company Parkwood Entertainment, invested US$150,000 into an app called Sidestep. The app allows for users to buy concert merchandises and to skip the lines by picking them up at the show.

However, she isn’t the first celebrity to join the ranks of celebrity investors. Here’s a list of ten other famous celebrities who invested in startups, some which you just might have heard of.

1. Madonna

Madonna/ Image credit: Death and Taxes Mag
Madonna/ Image credit: Death and Taxes Mag

The Like A Virgin singer isn’t a virgin when it comes to investing in startups. Apparently, in 2010, Madonna was said to like the taste of all-natural coconut water so much that she invested $1.5 million in Vita Coco which produces the beverage.

As mentioned in INC, the investment paid off as Vita Coco received US$421.1 million in global retail sales last year, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

If we had as much money, we would probably be investing some of it in our favourite foods and drinks as well!

2. Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher/ Image credit: movies.ndtv.com
Ashton Kutcher/ Image credit: movies.ndtv.com

Kutcher is one of the most well-known celebrity tech investors in the current generation. His list of invested startups include Uber, Spotify, Pinterest and Shazam.

The That 70’s Show star has invested in Foursquare, and was also part of a group of investors that bought Skype, an internet calling service, in 2009 for a value of US$2.75 billion. In 2011, Microsoft bought over the company for triple the amount it was initially invested for.

Kutcher now makes investments in startups such as Airbnb and photo app Path, through his venture capital firm, A-Grade, founded in 2010.

Similar to his character in Two And A Half Men, Kutcher seems to know his way around tech companies. Looks like he learnt a thing or two from his character Walden Schmidt on being a billionaire.

3. Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen Degeneres/ Image credit:whrhsarrowhead.com
Ellen Degeneres/ Image credit:whrhsarrowhead.com

One of our favourite television show hosts, DeGeneres invested in Stamped, an app created by ex-Google employees in 2012.

The app, which was launched in 2011, allows users to track their favourite things that include, restaurants, books, movies, and music. The app received US$1.5 million in a seed round but was later acquired by Yahoo at a steep price of US$10 million.

Ellen, through her investment firm, Ellen Digital Ventures, invested in music competition app Chosen as well. The app which launched in 2014, allows users to perform and receive judgement or votes by viewers based on their performance.

It’s a known fact the Ellen loves things all music and dance – with her trademark dance time during her shows;  so, investing in Chosen is nothing surprising.

4. Justin Bieber

Justin Bebier/ Image credit: Telegraph
Justin Bieber/ Image credit: Telegraph

Bieber made his first investment in 2009 (although he won’t divulge the startup’s name) and since then has quietly backed at least a dozen companies. Among the companies we do know about are music service Spotify, ratings app Stamped and Tinychat.

Bieber led a US$1.1 million seed round funding for mobile app Shots. The selfie-sharing app allows users to post selfies, and share funny finds from the internet to their timeline or through private chat.

It’s no surprise that the king of selfies would invest in a selfie app. Who wouldn’t want another app, where they can take countless of selfies and post it in the name of fan service? We just hope that the star remembers to keep his clothes on this time.

5. Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba/ Image credit: Vogue
Jessica Alba/ Image credit: Vogue

The mother and entrepreneur invested in Headspace, a meditation app that provides guided meditation lessons led by Andy Puddicombe – a world-renowned mindfulness expert, who is also a co-founder of Headspace.

Headspace has a broad range of authentic mindfulness exercises in the areas of health, performance, and relationships. The service is supported by monthly releases of new content, live events, books, creative web content, social media and the popular podcast Radio Headspace.

Alba is well-known for her endeavours for all things natural and healthy with her eco-friendly company Honest, that sells all natural products. So it’s no surprise that she would also be investing in something deals with living a healthier life.

6. Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo Dicaprio/ Image credit: Parade
Leonardo Dicaprio/ Image credit: Parade

The Titanic star has heavily invested in more than five tech firms over the last years. DiCaprio, whose passion lies in saving the world also invests in startup that helps to protect this planet.

He invested in waste and recycle management startup Rubicon Global. The company, which raised US$95 million in funding, matches independent local garbage collectors with international clients, and allows them to schedule pickups for their trash on demand through a proprietary technology.

Another earth-friendly startup is Fisker AutoMotive that was founded in 2007. Fisker is the creator of a hybrid luxury sports sedan, and even received a loan of US$529 from the Department of Energy programme in 2009.

As the saying goes, put your money where your mouth is, and the Oscar winner is definitely putting his money for a good cause. By investing in waste recycling management and hybrid cars, DiCaprio is surely showing the world that there is more than one way to save the earth.

7. Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez/ Image credit: Pinterest
Selena Gomez/ Image credit: Pinterest

When she was just 19-years-old, the popular singer-actress took part in the US$750,000 funding round for mobile startup Postcard On The Run.

According to TechCrunch, the app lets users take photos with their smartphones and convert them into real life postcards at a dollar.

Printing and mailing is also done by them, as long as address are provided. The app even provides a slightly stranger option of a scratch-and-sniff postcard card for an additional fifty cents.

We’re pretty excited about the fact that we can turn photos into postcards with this new startup, as it makes travelling a lot more fun even when you’re not with your loved ones. However, the scratch and sniff options might be a little too weird to use, even if it’s something Gomez is into.

8. Jared Leto

Jared Leto/Image credit: Pinterest
Jared Leto/Image credit: Pinterest

Without many knowing about it, the Academy Award winner has made over 50 investments throughout his career in startups such as like Blue Bottle Coffee and HR software company Zenefits.

However, Leto’s more well-known investment was in Nest Labs, which produces smart thermostats, smoke detectors, as well as indoor and outdoor cameras. Nest Labs was eventually acquired by search engine Google in 2014 for US$3.2 billion.

The Thirty Seconds To Mars frontman has also invested in more popular startups like Uber and accommodation marketplace, Airbnb during their early stages.

He currently also serves as an advisor to a few startups.

Who knew the actor who played The Joker would have such a large number of investments under his belt, of which many he invested in secret? Jared isn’t only a versatile actor but it seems like he’s a versatile investor too.

9. Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks/ Image credit: Latest hairstyles.com
Tyra Banks/ Image credit: Latest hairstyles.com

Banks has mainly invested in startups led by women, such as The Hunt and Locket through her investment firm Fierce Capital. One of her more prevalent investments is The Muse, which raked in US$1 million dollars in seed money in 2011.

Career site The Muse was also created to help people discover the jobs that would best suit them. It also provides career advice, coaching and courses to improve one’s skills as well.

Keeping in touch with the startup scene, Banks will also be investing in the an upcoming show Funded where startups compete for an investment of US$1 million dollars.

Banks’ commitment to female power is something many should applaud. She takes the opportunity to use her fame to not only promote a cause, but also invest in it. This lady is definitely fierce, and we hope that many other female celebrities will follow suit.

10. Bono

Bono/ Image credit: Forbes
Bono/ Image credit: Forbes

U2’s Bono invested US$120 million in Facebook through his venture firm Elevation Partners. According to Daily Mail UK, the singer bought a 2.3 per cent share of Facebook for about US$86 million in 2009.

The investment provided Bono with an amazing return of US$1.4 billion dollars.

Adding to his collection, the musician also invested in the file sharing service Dropbox. The company raised US$250 million in its Series B funding and is currently valued at $4 billion.

The man who was known as a terrible investor by Wall Street due to his previous investment failures, has shown the world that patience and perseverance pays off, literally!

The Next Investment

The fact that these celebrities, who have tons of cash in their bank, are willing to risk a few thousands or millions to fund an initiative they deem worthy might actually be a good thing.

Instead of wasting all their money on vices like drugs and alcohol, they are providing hope to many future businessmen and businesswomen out there. It’s definitely going to give budding entrepreneurs more confidence in creating their projects as well!

What other celebrity investors are you aware of? Share with us in the comments below!

 

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