There’s a new breed of angel investors, taking over the tech-funding spotlight, Hollywood celebrities, or rather tech-ebrities.
Tech ventures are exciting, popular and trendy, making investing in startups a must have for the rich and famous.
The roster of celebrity tech investors include:
Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Bono, Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake, Will Ferrell, Dr. Dre, Kayne West, Mc Hammer, Jay-Z, Will Smith, Jessica Alba amongst others.
Collaborations between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, aren’t entirely new.
They’ve been have been around since the dot.com boom in 1997.
It was then that the “godfather” of the movement, William Shatner, partnered with Priceline.com to become the official spokesperson for the discount travel website. Rather than accepting money for his role in the company, Shatner decided to take stock equity.
Celebrities took heed when 10 years later, Shatner cashed out his Priceline equity, to a resounding $600 million.
Suddenly, being a spokesperson and/or investing funds into underground technology startups, become the fast track to creating long term wealth to those celebrities, willing to take the risk.
“Like everyone else, celebrities are now hyperaware of just how many billions of dollars an early stake in, say, Facebook, could be worth down the road.”said Alan Hock, a partner at the law firm Moritt Hock & Hamroff who specializes in endorsement contracts for entertainers.
According to Rolling Stone Magazine Bono, the lead singer from U2, did exactly that.
His private equity firm Elevation Partners, invested 90 million for a 1.5% stake in Facebook.
When Facebook went public in 2013 and sold for $100 billion, he walked away with crisp $1.5 billion. It’s been rumored that Bono made more money investing in Facebook than he has with U2.
However, unlike traditional Angel Investors , world class musicians, artists, actors, and athletes aren’t always investing simply for a big payoff. Afterall, their jobs are not fueled on acquisitions and exit strategies.
It’s fair to say, we’re referring to individuals that have built their careers out of emotional creativity, passion, and determination. Present a viable business plan, while pulling at their heart strings, and you might just find your business funded.
Avid tech investor Aston Kutcher told TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington
“I really think that, technology probably has the greatest potential to accelerate happiness. Everybody sort of looks at investing and, you know, for me, if I don’t make any money, but what we deliver people — love and happiness and connectivity and friendship and health and whatever it is that we can deliver that ultimately leads to people’s happiness — I’m fine losing my money, if that’s the case.”
Bono shared a similar perspective on MSNBC:
“I got interested in technology because I’m an artist, I’m interested in the forces that shape the world, politics, religion, the stuff we’ve been talking about today. Technology is huge. I wanted to learn about it. People say it’s odd, ‘you’re a musician, why are you doing all this.’ But I think it’s odd if artists aren’t more interested in the world around them.”
Whether you’re in favor of the tech bubble reaching Hollywood or not, there’s no denying world of investment capital continues to expand.
There has never been a time in our history, that funding sources are have so readily available. Whether from Mc Hammer’s pockets or from various crowdfunding platforms, raising investment capital is more accessible than ever.