Fame, fortune and founders: 10 celebrity-backed startups

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Ashton Kutcher
Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher

Very few celebrities make money based solely on the primary talents they are known for. Many are business savvy, with an entrepreneurial mindset that has allowed them to amass even larger fortunes.

After analysing celebrity investment trends over the past few years, it’s evident that many high profile stars are taking chances on startups that they believe in, and helping to boost their growth, with the hopes of a nice financial return.

The Celebrity Investments Index, created by the investment experts at money.co.uk, analysed the business activities of 30 A-list celebrities to determine which high profile stars are the most prolific investors and across which areas of business they operate.

Subsequently, the investing team at money.co.uk compiled the following list of stars from the world of movies and music that have invested in startups.

Andy Murray

Net worth: $100 Million
Estimated total money invested: $15,739,100
Main sector invested in: Tech

Tennis champion Andy Murray is fast becoming a big name in the startup investment game, with multiple start-up companies benefiting from his entrepreneurial skills so far.

In 2018, Murray invested in mortgage lender Landbay, having invested in the company previously. The tech startup also has the backing of online estate agent Zoopla.

The tennis player also intends to back Investly, a fintech startup that offers invoicing solutions for small businesses.

Clearly happy to spread the wealth that he has accumulated over his sporting career so far, Murray has also invested in more than 30 UK businesses using Seedrs, a popular crowdfunding platform.

Some of his investments on Seedrs include Beeline, a smart navigation device and mobile app for bicycles, allowing cyclists to navigate by informing them of the direction and distance to their destination, Dog Tracker Nano, a live tracking device with geofencing and alerts to keep your dog safe with inbuilt tech to monitor activity, fitness and location. Also, blow LTD; London’s leading ‘beauty on demand’ service, delivering expert blow dries, makeup and nails to your door.

Ashton Kutcher

Net worth: $200 Million
Estimated total money invested: $3,130,000,000
Main sector invested in: Tech

The star of ‘That 70s Show’ is perhaps the most active of all celebrity investors. He has invested in many startups over the years that have gone on to become huge global brands, including Spotify, Airbnb, and Uber to name a few.

Starting his investment portfolio as a cash-rich angel investor, Kutcher has since co-founded two venture capital funds: A-Grade Investments and Sound Ventures. Ashton runs A-Grade Investments with two other partners – entertainment manager Guy Oseary and investor Ron Burkle.

He’s also invested a whopping $300m single investment in financial service company Affirm.

Gary Lineker

Net worth: $35 Million
Estimated total money invested: £1,000,000
Main sector invested in: Insurance

For many, Gary Lineker is best known for being a football legend, his TV presenting roles, and his long-standing partnership with the Walkers brand. But the retired footballer has other interests besides football and crisps.

In 2016, he invested in insurance startup Neos, during a £1m funding round. Neos aims to tap into the emergence of internet-enabled gadgets within the home, and create a new approach to insurance that enables consumers to actively protect their homes and help prevent incidents.

A combination of sensors and other devices will allow policy holders with Neos the ability to monitor their home remotely via a smartphone. Fingers crossed that he has netted a winner here.

Jared Leto

Net worth: $90 Million
Estimated total money invested: $1,020,000,000
Main sector invested in: Tech

The musician, Oscar-winning actor and director is also a silent investor in Silicon Valley, and has made more than 50 investments over the years.

The ‘30 Seconds to Mars’ frontman has invested in the likes of Slack, Uber, Reddit, AirBnB, digital health platform Headspace and electronic signature service DocuSign, plus many more.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Net worth: $260 Million
Estimated total money invested: $186,600,000
Main sector invested in: Tech and environmental areas

Whilst he may be very well known for his philanthropic work, the Titanic star also has an eye for start-up investment.

In 2011 the actor led a $4 million investment round for Israel-based social mobile photo and video sharing app Mobli (that subsequently ceased trading in 2016).
Since then the award-winning actor has invested in Suja Juice, a startup which makes healthy beverages such as organic, cold-pressed juices, and kombucha. He has also invested in Casper, which sells mattresses, pillows, and dog beds.

Madonna

Net worth: $850 Million
Estimated total money invested: $10,000,000
Main sector invested in: Entertainment and real estate

The ‘Queen of Pop’ Madonna has made significant investments in Vita Coco, the world’s leading brand of coconut water, to the tune of $1.5 million.

She made the investment in 2010 after reportedly drinking Vita Coco every day on tour and being very impressed with the product. The brand, which is currently sold in more than 30 countries around the world, has also received funding from Matthew McConaughey, Demi Moore, and musician Anthony Kiedis.

Nas

Net worth: $70 Million
Estimated total money invested: $1,490,000,000
Main sector invested in: Tech

Nas’ investments in startup companies are well documented. The New York born rapper and actor has invested in over 40 startups over the years, including Coinbase, Rap Genius and deviantART.

In 2018, Nas found himself part of another successful investment. when Amazon announced the $1 billion acquisition of online pharmacy startup company, PillPack. Nas serves as a founding partner of Queensbridge Venture Partners, a capital firm that was an early investor in Pillpack.

Since 2014, the venture firm has worked on more than 100 investment deals, investing up to $500k into small technology-based startup companies. These companies include direct-to-consumer mattress company Casper, ticket reseller SeatGeek, digital media brand Genius, ride-sharing service Lyft, and personal cloud storage service Dropbox.

Priyanka Chopra

Net worth: $50 Million
Estimated total money invested: $15,800,000
Main sector invested in: App and tech

Indian actress, singer, entrepreneur and film producer Priyanka Chopra invested in dating and social media app Bumble, as well as a coding education company called Holberton School.

Her husband, singer Nick Jonas, is also a keen investor in startups, having put his money in Ember, a company that sells temperature-controlled mugs.

Serena Williams

Net worth: $210 Million
Estimated total money invested: $604,300,000
Main sector invested in: E-commerce, food, fashion

Over the years, global sports star Serena Williams has developed a reputation as a respected businesswoman and credible investor.

Williams invested in “Little Spoon” – a subscription start-up for delivering baby food to the doorstep of busy families. This start-up was built to solve the modern-day problems working parents face.

The company has the ambition to provide nutritious, easy and enjoyable mealtimes.

Stephen Fry

Net worth: $30 Million
Estimated total money invested: $1,200,000
Main sector invested in: Apps

Startup investing adds to the many talents of actor, author and comedian Stephen Fry, for the man who epitomises the phrase ‘national treasure’ is also a seasoned business angel.

In 2011, he invested in the app Summly, the news article summariser which was sold to Yahoo for a reported $30m just two years later.

Other startups Fry has backed include Ticckle in 2013, an online video debate platform, and Pindex, a firm billed as ‘Pinterest for education’, which Fry co-founded in 2016.

He was also an investor in Pushnote, a web article comments tool that folded in 2012. Despite that knockback, he remains heavily involved in the tech scene as both an investor and an innovation enthusiast.

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