9 Stars Who Chucked Their Millions into Tech Startups
A lot of startups get funding from venture capitalists, investment banks, and “angel investors” — rich people from the tech industry who get bored and have money to spend.
In times of tech booms, like right now, an additional class of investor emerges: Famous, rich performers from the field of entertainment, like Ashton Kutcher and Leonardo DiCaprio, join the quest to find the next Instagram or Twitter.
A select few have proved that they’ve got the chops to be expert investors. Many more have shown that the tech space is no place for excessively wealthy mega-celebs.
Below, a survey of some of the startup industry’s most famous investors. Let’s just say not all have been as successful in the Valley as they have been on stage.
1. Eddie Vedder
The Pearl Jam front man may not be able to utter a single audible lyric, but he sure can pick a promising startup to back. In April, Dropbox announced that he’d become an investor, spurring ire from fans who called him out for supporting a company with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on its board of directors. (Rice was secretary of state during the Iraq war, which Vedder vehemently protested in many a Pearl Jam song.)
Vedder’s contribution to the company’s latest $250 million investment round might have more to do with his bromance with Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, who originally named the company “Even Flow” after a classic Pearl Jam tune. Guess all’s fair in love and file sharing.
When he’s not delivering aid to Third World countries, Bono, one of the original rockerpreneurs, is likely delivering gobs of money to startups. Though the U2 front man’s early investments — including Palm, Forbes, and Move Inc. — returned meh results, he’s found great success with ventures like Yelp and Facebook. Now it seems that Bono has been drawn to companies that make headlines: case in point, his decision to invest in Dropbox and, most recently, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s app, Jelly.
3. Justin Bieber
Always a talented multitasker, our favorite drag-racing pop star finds the time to throw his money at both strippers and startups. He’s invested in an unremarkable video chat website called Tinychat, the social curation app Stamped (which was later bought by Yahoo), a gaming company called Sojo Studios, and — his crown jewel — Spotify.