Once upon a time, celebrities were celebrities — plain and simple. They starred in movies, sang hit songs, and went to a few awards shows, and that’s basically what the public knew them for.
Now, that’s changing.
Celebrities are now the next generation of tech investors. They have begun to understand one of the principles of wealth growth – multiple streams of income, especially investing in the future – tech.
Tech is the future and the future is tech, what better way to grow and multiply ones income than to invest in this industry?
It’s surprising the number of celebrity tech geeks we have. Celebrity tech investors not only use their financial backings to sustain the goal of a start up but also their influence.
These Celebrities do not only restrict themselves but many even come up with their own Tech inventions like Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood inspired game and Jay-Z’s streaming service, Tidal.
Jay-Z has also launched his own venture capital firm to not only fund startups but also offer branding support, he has also invested in uber and jetsmarter. The digital world is an intangible space so the possibilities are endless.
From Jose Williams who took activism into the tech space by creating Blebrity an app that celebrates, represents and uplifts black culture after he felt that that Blacks were underrepresented in Silicon Valley.
Venus Williams invested in Ellevest a Tech Startup that empowers women to invest and reach their greatest financial goals, also advocating for women’s rights and equal pay.
Ashton Kutcher is behind some of the most popular apps we use today,Air bnb box skype just to name a few. Ashton Kutcher and his business partner Guy Oseary teamed up with billionaire Ron Burkle and found A Grade Investments in 2010, but they’d both been in the venture capital game for nearly a decade beforehand. Since its founding, A Grade famously turned its initial fund of $30 million into more than $250 million, a whopping 8.5 times return.
Snoop Dogg’s venture capital firm recently closed a debut funding round for $45 million, and that comes after Snoop had launched entrepreneurial plays and investments like cannabis culture site Merry Jane and his infamous, $100 golden joint sticker app Snoopify.
Roadie, the Atlanta-based shipping marketplace that’s angling to tap drivers already on the road to deliver packages, added some star wattage to its team, the music star Ludacris (aka Chris Bridges)as partner with the company.
Nicki Minaj is one of the first entertainers that invested in tech. On Aug, 1, 2014, she invested in Music Messenger , an app that allows users share to share links of their favorite songs. This investment – Series A – Music Messenger – was valued at $3.4M. In 2016, she invested in an anonymous messaging app, Blindspot practically designed for bullying.
We have a host of others – 50 Cents, Will Smith, T.I, Queen Latifah etc.
So what conclusions can we draw from all of this?
Influence is currency. Kim Kardashian understood early in her life that mass attention means money, whatever form it takes. And as we live more and more of our lives online in an increasingly media-saturated world, this is only growing more true.
More than anything, this is the key lesson from all these stars-turned-venture capitalists. Hopefully, African Stars can also find this worthy of emulating. In a world where business is no longer tied to a single location, broad-based attention and influence become more important. Many of our local artistes have this influence but yet lack business and investment sense, a trait that foreign entertainers have in excess.
Our two kobo advise is this – that Nigerian entertainers begin to look for tech startups, those in formation and those already grown to an extent. Tech is the future and Nigeria has a role to play in it. Its how many Nigerian tech groups have won competitions in Africa and even in the world!