10 Celebrities Who Are Also Tech Investors
Celebrities using their millions to invest in tech startups and create their own Venture Capital firms has become increasingly common. Not only can it be a lucrative venture for them, but a startup’s worth can increase dramatically if a prominent celebrity has invested in them.
So who are the biggest players in the field of celebrity venture capital? Here are 10 celebrities who are also tech investors, and who they are investing in.
Serena Williams founded Serena Ventures to invest in early-stage companies and young founders. There are over 50 companies in her portfolio, including some innovative future tech giants.
Befitting to her sporting career, Serena Ventures have invested in Tonal who are creating smart home gyms which include adaptable, multi-purpose equipment and a coaching screen all from one rig set up.
She has also invested in the software and services platform Mahmee, which connects new and soon-to-be mothers with physicians to execute care plans. An investment most probably inspired by her own experience of motherhood.
Will Smith is a frequent investor in new startups; he once famously invested 10K into a startup on the spot after hosting an elevator pitch competition on stage at a Tech Crunch Disrupt event in 2019. Smith is also the co-founder of Dreamers VC, which is a “venture capital fund bridging established Japanese corporate investors with early-stage US-based companies”.
Smith has also invested in OURA through Dreamers VC, an accessory to rival the Apple Watch and Fitbit that gains health insights from the arteries in your fingers within a minimal style ring.
Katy Perry is a known investor in food companies that are using technology to make notable innovations within the industry. In 2020, Perry traded in her cotton candy and lollipops for Apples, by investing in Apeel Sciences – a company that uses technology to make fruit last up to three times longer and reduce food waste in the process.
Ashton Kutcher has famously had a long-standing interest in investing and technology. In 2010 he co-founded A-Grade investments and, over six years, turned a fund of $30 million into $250 million. His early investments have now revolutionised their industries. These include Spotify, Airbnb, Skype and Uber.
In 2015 he founded Sound-Ventures, which invests in early-stage to growth and late-stage venture investments – predominantly investing in financial technology and tech companies. This includes investments in the popular sleep and wellbeing app Calm and DapperLabs (a blockchain product NFT company).
Snoop Dogg, who goes by his real name Calvin Broadus in the business world, is an active investor in, surprise surprise, the cannabis and cannabis-tech industries. He is a general partner in Casa Verde Capital. Amongst cannabis products and brands available in California, Snoop has invested in futuristic cannabis dispensary software Greenbits which uses data to simplify cannabis commerce and optimize retail performance.
There’s not much the American talk-show host, actress, producer and philanthropist hasn’t done in her lifetime, so it should not come as a surprise that she is one of the most prominent celebrity investors. Like Katy Perry, Winfrey also backed food company Apeel Sciences. Winfrey predominantly invests in food companies, with stakes and investments in Oalty, Weight Watchers and True Food Kitchen.
One of the most successful rappers in hip-hop, and the world, Nasir Jones (Better known as Nas), has built his own VC empire QueensBridge Venture Partners to accompany his music career. In an interview with Fast Company, the rapper said that he got into tech investing in order to “be surrounded by the smartest people in the world” and not “limit that to just music”.
Nas has made millions through investing early in such tech companies as ride-hailing app Lyft, Coinbase and Dropbox. He has also been an investor in Houseparty since 2014, a group video calling app which many of us became familiar with over multiple Coronavirus lockdowns.
Musician and actor Jared Leto is heavily invested in tech companies, including recent ventures into Blockchain developer Alchemy. His portfolio is broad and shows an interest in an array of industries hoping to innovate through new tech breakthroughs from medicine to rockets. In 2020 he invested in Relativity Space, a series D aerospace company with the goal of building the autonomous rocket factory.
Robert Downey Jr.
Of course, Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man himself, is investing in tech. The actor has his own VC firm but, more recently, Downey launched the FootPrint Coalition, which combines democratic venture capital investment with storytelling to encourage investments in tech that will promote sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. The rolling venture fund has six companies within its portfolio, including RWDC; a leading manufacturer of PHA which is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic that has been developed to be marine biodegradable without breaking down into microplastics.
Gwyneth Paltrow has recently turned her investments to tech by investing in a new interior design platform, The Expert. Born out of the challenges faced by the industry as home visits became a danger during the Coronavirus pandemic, The Expert is a platform to upload floor plans and inspiration ideas and to connect with interior design experts virtually. Paltrow’s investment is helping to digitize this luxury market.
Header: Image via The Cable Show.