Celebrities are no strangers to exclusivity. From the lustre of the Met Gala to the decadence of the Oscars, the planet’s most recognisable faces seldom shy away from rubbing shoulders with elite company. Now, discontent with the world of entertainment, some are looking for a stake in elite companies.
Indeed, there is a natural symbiosis between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, both in proximity and wealth. Previously, most celebs had been content with being LPs as it allowed them to aggrandise passively. Today, as non-traditional investors make incursions into the venture asset class, a new wave of music and acting titans are throwing their might behind some of the biggest deals too.
Here, we take you through the top 5 Celeb funds you should be looking out for, in no particular order:
Robert Downey Jr. shouldn’t be afraid of due diligence and technology. If he combines the rigour of Sherlock Holmes with the hardware nous of Iron Man, his investors are in for a treat. In saving the world from cataclysm, he’s launched two climate-focused rolling funds; one focused on Seed to Series A, and another on Series B and above.
He’s putting some of his $66M net-worth into the fund to demonstrate ‘skin in the game’ - he and the other partners will contribute 10% up to $500,000, and $1M per year for the early-stage and later-stage respectively. Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t seem to be doing much of the investing; that responsibility goes to Jon Schulof and Steve Levin.
They’ve already invested in Ynsect, an insect cultivation startup, Cloud Paper, a bamboo toilet-roll firm, and Aspiration, a sustainable lender.
If ‘90s hip hop was characterised by the East coast vs West coast beef, perhaps that same rivalry exists in finance and tech. Of course, the Brooklyn projects are a different world to Wall St. And the only thing Sand Hill shares in common with Compton is the same state legislature.
The chasm hasn’t stopped an NYC rap legend from selecting the East coast’s B2C startups as well as he picks his beats. King Nasir has had 8 exits - it’s an illustrious list. None other than Coinbase and Robinhood, as well as Ring and PillPack (both exited to Amazon.) Still going strong in his latest album, he brags, “one IPO to the next one.
Over on the West coast, another languid rap legend is expanding the horizons of his fund in an industry he knows a thing or two about. Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde made its first investment into European medical cannabis, leading a $15M round into Lisbon-based AceCan.
This was Snoop’s first foray into Europe, having made successful investments in the likes of Miss Grass, a cannabis magazine and Dutchie, an e-commerce platform.
From Lagos to London, the smooth tones of afrobeats could get even a pensioner's hip flexors moving. Mr Eazi’s Zagadat Capital invested in PawaPay’s 9$M round to bring seamless payments outside of Nigeria and South Africa. The Nigerian artist invested in the seed round - and what's more, he did it through Vauban!
Deciding on the final member of this listicle was a tough choice. Ashton Kutcher was the obvious choice with his longtime presence as a GP in his own venture firm. Or Jay-Z’s Marcy Ventures that just closed $325M for its second fund.
Today, we are going to go with a diminutive comedy actor with scruffy blonde locks. Owen Wilson has only made one notable angel investment in his life, but what an investment it was. He invested in Canva at Series A - now he's up 166X with the design app valued at $40B. At the time, Owen said Canva was ‘on fire.’ Today he might say ‘wowww.”
So there you have it, The rich and famous getting...well... richer and possibly more famous. Let’s hope they’re as good at investing as they are entertaining.