When we last checked in with Ashton Kutcher in our December 2009 cover story "Ashton Says, 'Follow Me,' " the model-cum-actor-cum-technophile was hell-bent on becoming the next new-media mogul. And, as it turns out, an intrepid investor. Fresh off contributions to Foursquare, Path, Flipboard, and other buzzed-about startups, Kutcher in May poured a sizable amount into Airbnb, the crowdsourced room-rental website, for which he'll also serve as a strategic adviser. His mission: to help the burgeoning service get mainstream adoption. "With Ashton on board," the company blogged, "we'll be working together to take our community engagement to the next level and expand our international presence to reach more people from different cultures all over the world." It helps, of course, that Kutcher comes with web cred: Though he's no longer king of social media—rabid Justin Bieber fans won't allow it—he still touts some 7 million followers on Twitter and 10 million fans on Facebook. (That's not even counting those he'll charm as Charlie Sheen's replacement on Two and a Half Men.) Should even a fraction of his fanbase start using Airbnb, its listings could skyrocket
A version of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.