We can consider this a pay it forward from this young generation.
Investments made by celebrities include a wide range of industries, as they are linked directly to their likes and beliefs. These Celebrity Business Angels showed us that they are not only relying on their primary talent skills to foster their fortune, they also have an entrepreneurial mindset that allows them to take chances on startups they believe in. Their investments are either made directly or via crowdfunding platforms such as Seedrs. Andy Murray, for instance, invested in more than 30 UK businesses via this crowdfunding platform.
Other celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher made early bets on startups like Spotify and Uber, while Jay-Z, Serena Williams, and Katy Perry teamed up to invest in the startup Impossible Foods (a plant-based meat replacement company).
Other celebrities such as the Indian actress Priyanka Chopra invested in dating and social media, namely the app Bumble, she also invested in a coding education company called Holberton School.
This brings us to another matter: Female stars and celebrities tend to back startups that have female founders. Bumble, the dating app, is founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd after she left Tinder in 2014. Blake Morgan wrote an article on Forbes where she sees this as a trend to reverse the situation for female founders - whose share of VC funding in 2020 has been less than 3%.
Back in 2013, celebrities were drawn to investing in travel startups. Bollywood actor, Salman Khan, was the brand ambassador of Yatra, an Indian online travel agency where he owned a 5% stake. Just like angel investors support startup founders with smart money using the power of their network, Salman Khan leveraged his flamboyance and signature style in Yatra’s marketing campaign in 2012. This helped the company in many ways and in short, it increased the customer base for the company. As of 2017, Ranbir Kapoor, another Bollywood superstar has been Yata’s Brand Ambassador.
In 2015, investing in social media platforms was trendy among celebrities. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Lance Armstrong and Serena Williams invested in a platform called Mobli, a social photo and video-sharing app.
Celebrity angel investing in Health and Wellbeing has been making some noise. From Mental health to fitness there have been many Apps backed by singers, actors and athletes. Masters, an app with the slogan: Train with the best, become your best, lets its users train with famous athletes worldwide. There is a four-week guided training program for users to learn the tricks in their field of sports. Bam Adebayo, an American professional basketball player, Shaun White, an American professional snowboarder, Kai Lenny, an American big-wave surfer and Ja Wilson, a professional basketball player are among the athletes featured on the platform and its marketing campaigns who threw angel cash into Masters.
Jessica Alba, Ryan Seacrest, and Jared Leto invested in Headspace, a mindfulness app that focuses on teaching meditation techniques.
Investing in startups brings a rewarding experience of being involved and potentially high returns but it also brings along lots of risks.
The story of celebrities investing in startups has not always been a fairy-tale. Mobli, the startup backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, in a struggle to compete with Vine and Instagram filed for bankruptcy in 2016.
Most of us don't have enough funds to make business angel investments. However, if you have an entrepreneurial vein, a crowdfunding platform may allow you to enter this exciting world by investing as little as 10€, and who knows, maybe your 10€ will turn into 20€.