As celebrities are interested in making a side hustle apart from their work as artists, the line between Hollywood and Silicon Valley is slowly blurring. Over the years, celebrities have turned to restaurants, real estate, and royalties to grow their wealth. Today they are moving towards tech investments. Stars find Silicon Valley deeply appealing. Being involved in a startup or a tech company has become a part of a status symbol as they try to show their relevance and brand themselves through these investments. Tech startups have reached a new high in 2022 and raised over $330 billion compared to $167 billion in 2020.
From creating venture capital funds that invest in multiple startups simultaneously to investing in AI and environmentally sound projects, celebrities have diversified their portfolio by making careful investments through funding rounds. In a multi-billion dollar industry that is increasingly inviting celebrities to invest, let’s look at the stars who have funded tech companies.
10 Gwyneth Paltrow
Jake Arnold, an LA-based designer, received many requests for remote design consultations during the pandemic, which gave him the motivation to start a tech business with Leo Siegal called The Expert. As mentioned by Architectural Digest, the company raised over $3 million during its seed funding round, with Gwyneth Paltrow being one of the investors. In March 2022, the company held a Series funding and received $12 million.
9 Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. has taken his efforts to save the plant a step further with the launch of FootPrint Coalition Ventures. This venture capital firm develops solutions that can resolve environmental problems. The actor has invested $10 million from his income and raised over $50 million through a funding round in Los Angeles.
8 Katy Perry
Katy Perry has recently stepped into the world of investments and has poured her earnings into cryptocurrencies and tech startups. Apeel Sciences, a tech startup that uses technology to increase the shelf-life of citrus fruits, saw a series of fundings in 2020 worth $250 million, with Perry making a sizable investment. The company that launched after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation is currently valued at $1 billion, as reported by TechCrunch.
7 Oprah Winfrey
Like Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey was also one of the investors who contributed to the $250 million raised by Apeel Sciences during its seed funding round. Along with the tech startup, she has also invested in Weight Watchers by acquiring a 10% stake for $43 million, which has now been lowered to 7%.
6 Jared Leto
While many fans know Jared Leto as an Oscar-winning actor and a band member of 30 Seconds to Mars, he is also a savvy startup investor. According to Cheat Sheet, he has made early investments in companies worth multi-billion valuations today, such as Airbnb, Uber, Nest, Slack, and Spotify. He also financed the 3-D rocket startup Relativity Space, which has raised $650 million during its Series E funding and is valued at $4.2 billion.
5 Ashton Kutcher
After being a cash-rich angel investor for several years, Ashton Kutcher co-founded two venture capital firms: Sound Ventures and A-Grade Investments. Along with Guy Oseary, he invested $500,000 in Uber, $3 million in Spotify, $1.5 million in Houzz, $1 million in Skype, and $300,000 in Warby Parker, among many other firms. Within six years, he has turned investments of $30 million into $100 million.
4 Serena Williams
Tennis star Serena Williams began her journey as an investor after launching her venture capital business Serena Ventures, in 2014. Her company has funded over 61 companies, including Cryptocurrency resourcing app CoinTracker, Impossible Foods, and Tonal. In March 2022, she raised $111 million for her firm and invested a seven-figure amount in OpenSponsorship, a sports marketing technology startup.
3 Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg co-founded Casa Verde, a venture-capital firm that focuses on developing the cannabis industry. In December 2020, his firm raised $100 million after the second round of funding. He invested $15 million at AceCann, a medical cannabis company based in Portugal, within a year. It uses unique cultivation technology to extract cannabis.
2 Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen Digital Ventures, which functions under Ellen TV, has made several investments, including the infamous Head’s Up App, and launched a digital network in collaboration with Warner Bros. In 2021, she invested in Shelf Engine, a grocery order automation technology aiming to eliminate food waste. The firm has received a total funding of $60 million through three rounds, with DeGeneres providing cash amongst other celebrities.
Nasir Jones, better known as Nas, is one of the biggest rappers of all time, and he has had similar success as a tech investor by funding startups with potential. He founded a venture capital firm Queensbridge Venture Partners, with more than 60 investments in notable companies like intelligent doorbell company Ring, online pharmacy startup PillPack, and television service Pluto TV, as stated by Celebrity Net Worth.
Other notable celebrities that have invested in tech companies include Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jay-Z. As the tech environment offers low-interest rates and high returns, stars are attracted to the opportunities they find in startups. In turn, they offer publicity to these companies that boost sales.
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