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From Ashton Kutcher to Serena Williams, more celebrities than ever are investing in startups

From Ashton Kutcher to Serena Williams, more celebrities than ever are investing in startups
[Photo: Michael Longmire/Unsplash]

Nas and Jay Z. Beyoncé and Bono. Serena Williams and Shaun White.

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These aren’t new celebrity couples. Instead of hooking up with each other, these A-listers are hooking up entrepreneurs with investment capital. The stars of music, sports, television, and film racked up $12.2 billion in investment on 981 deals, according to a new analysis on Tide.co, which pulled investment data from Crunchbase.

In terms of the total size of investments, Ashton Kutcher lands at No. 1 on the list for investing in rounds totaling $3.1 billion. He’s no stranger to the investing scene, having started his first VC firm back in 2010. Kutcher famously parlayed $30 million into $250 million on the back of funding companies such as Skype, Spotify, and Airbnb.

For his part, Nasir Jones investing in rounds totaling $1.4 billion to land the second slot on the list. The rapper, better known as Nas, is a founding partner of L.A.-based Queensbridge Venture Partners, which has funded such companies as RapGenius, Dropbox, and Walker & Company.

Carmelo Anthony, Jared Leto, and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter rounded out the top five investors ranked by total dollars. Tennis legend Serena Williams, at No. 8, is the only woman on the list of top 10 investors.

Software ($5.2 billion for 264 deals) and e-commerce companies ($3.1 billion for 160 deals) were the most common types of companies that celebrities poured their investment dollars into. Overall, their funding accounts for just a fraction of total venture capital investment in 2019. According to the National Venture Capital Association, by the third quarter last year, more than $96 billion was raised by over 7,800 companies.

You can see the complete list of celebrities and where they put their money here.


CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that the individual investors don’t disclose their actual investment amounts and this refers to the total funding rounds they’ve been involved in.

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