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Celebrity Tech Investors: The Good, Bad, and Ugly
Investing in tech startups seems to be the latest trend amongst celebrities. Here's a unscientific look at which ones have had success and which ones should focus on their day jobs.
By Lydia Belanger
Lydia Belanger is an editorial intern for
magazine. Previously, she interned with
AARP The Magazine
and Circle of Blue.
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IMAGE: Getty Images
Are Celebrity Investors a Good Idea for Your Startup?
Part of an equity-for-publicity deal in karaoke app Just Sing It
Much like Lohan's career, the app hasn't been generating a lot of buzz lately.
Some 40 startups, including Coinbase, Rap Genius, and deviantART.
In good company:
Nas has a fan in Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz, with whom he has teamed up on a number of investments. Horowitz once tweeted, "Nas is my homie!!!"
Robert Downey Jr.
Maker Studios,MediaSpike,and Epoxy
Downey brought in a group of Stanford alums to help run the venture branch of Team Downey, his production and investment company.
Since the entrepreneurs behind tech's hottest startups often become celebrities, it isn't so surprising that actual celebrities are trying their hand at becoming Silicon Valley insiders. Here is an unscientific look at some stars who have demonstrated a talent for spotting good investments--and some who shouldn't quit their day jobs.
A portfolio of more than 20 startups, including Flipboard, Airbnb, Spotify, Uber, Skype, and Fab.com
Kutcher's come a long way since Dude, Where's My Car?
His private equity firm, Elevation Partners, has stakes in Facebook,Yelp, and analytics company MarketShare.
While Facebook's IPO didn't make Bono a billionaire as originally speculated, it certainly added millions to his bank account.
Launched e-commerce site The Honest Company with ShoeDazzle co-founder Brian Lee.
Mother knows best:
Alba, a young mom herself, has a genuine passion for the baby-product company's mission. It's paid off--the company has raised more than $50 million.
Square, Bump Technologies, and more. (He is also co-founder of Dancejam.com.)
Back on top:
Hammer gained notoriety for the bankruptcy that cost him his mansion, but lately he's made a name for himself as a social-media guru.
Spotify, Tinychat, Stamped, Sojo Studios, and more. He made a $1.1 million investmentin selfie appShots of Me.
Bieber's a social-media pro, but the download stats of Shots of Me are pretty bleak.
Part of a $4 million round in Israeli photo-sharing app Mobli.
Wolf of Silicon Valley?:
Not quite. Mobli faces some stiff competition--namely, Instagram. Maybe the $60 million round led by billionaire Carlos Slim last November will help.
Sean "Diddy" Combs
Teamed up with Ashton Kutcher in a $1.5 million round in video-chat company Tinychat.
Combs had big hits with his record label and clothing line, but Tinychat's popularity has waned.
Co-founded and invested $1 million in Typo,a keyboard device for iPhones
BlackBerry is suing Typo, claiming that it is a"blatant infringement against BlackBerry's iconic keyboard."
Video-sharing app Viddy.
In addition to Jay Z, Viddy's investors included Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Shakira, pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek, and soccer star Gerard Pique. However, the app has been overshadowed by Vine's success.
Part of a $7 million round in the now-defunct Turntable.fm
Predicted his name "is going to mean something similar to what Steve Jobs means."
MySpace, Stipple,and Miso Media.
Tough act to follow:
JT played Sean Parker in The Social Network,but his investments haven't fared quite as well as his character's.
Part of a $1.75 millionseed round in Senator Cory Booker's since-sold video site, Waywire
What "Oprah Effect"?:
Oprah's star power has done little to boost Waywire, which has struggled since Booker sold it.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2014
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