Celebrities across the world are now thinking of becoming co-founders. From actors to athletes, they are injecting funds into tech startups of late. While some have been investing for a long and have their own VC firms, others are just putting in their earnings into exciting tech concepts ranging from healthtech to foodtech.
Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher is a serial investor and a co-founder in A-Grade Investments, a VC focused on tech. He has made early bets on Spotify, Skype, and Uber, among others. Tennis star Serena Williams is supporting tech startups focusing on women and minority communities. Likewise, boxing legend Mike Tyson invested in Bitcoin.
Here, at TFN, as the year enters into its last couple of weeks, we have listed some tech startups that have raised funding from celebrities in 2021.
Selena Gomez invests in Gopuff (US)
Founders: Rafael Ilishayev, Yakir Gola
Founded year: 2013
Total funding: $4.8B
Instant grocery delivery is the rage among urban-dwelling consumers as these deliver food and other essentials in less than 15 minutes. One of the juggernauts in this arena is Phlladephia-based Gopuff. It is the go-to solution for immediate everyday needs. Currently, the super-fast delivery service operates in over 500 micro-fulfilment centres delivering to customers in nearly 1,000 U.S. cities.
The startup recently secured $1.5 billion funding, which took its valuation to $40 billion. Singer, actress, and entrepreneur Selena Gomez is among the investors that pumped the funds into Gopuff. While Gomez declined to disclose the amount, she will become a “strategic partner” with the startup.
Leonardo DiCaprio invests in Mosa Meat (Netherlands)
Founders: Peter Verstrate, Mark Post
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $101M
Dutch startup that created the world’s first cultured beef burger, Mosa Meat, has achieved milestones in cost reduction by replacing the expensive and controversial animal-free growth medium. The startup aims to find a new method to make real meat to feed our fast-growing population in a sustainable, healthy and animal-friendly way.
The actor, environmentalist and philanthropist, Leonardo DiCaprio invested in Mosa Meat in 2021. He eyes to bring about positive change for the planet, which is in line with the mission of Mosa Meat.
Leonardo DiCaprio invests in Aleph Farms (Israel)
Founders: Didier Toubia, Shulamit Levenberg
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $119M
Israel food production company Aleph Farms grows beef steaks from non-genetically engineered and non-immortalised cells isolated from a living cow. This is done without harming animals and significantly reducing the impact on the environment. The company’s vision is to provide unconditional nutrition for anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Leonardo DiCaprio also became an investor and advisor to Aleph Farms, which is building a pilot production facility ahead of its launch target of 2022.
Priyanka Chopra invests in Apartment List (US)
Founders: John Kobs, Chris Erickson
Total funding: $163M
Apartment List is an American online marketplace for apartment listings. In January 2018, Apartment List had over 4 million units on its platform. Apart from dating app Bumble and coding education startup Holberton School, Indian actress, singer, entrepreneur and film producer Priyanka Chopra also made tech investments in the SanFrancisco-based startup.
With this, she joined a star-studded board of investors including American singer Lizzo, baseball star Alex Rodriguez or Arod, NBA player Andre Iguodala and others.
Jay-Z and Will Smith invests in Landis (US)
Founders: Cyril Berdugo, James Fox, Tom Petit
Funded year: 2018
Total funding: $167M
Headquartered in New York City, Landis’ unique rent-to-sell model purchases homes on behalf of its clients and lets them rent the properties until they are able to qualify for a mortgage. There is a dedicated coach to help homebuyers build their credit and improve their financial literacy. During that time, part of their rent goes towards a downpayment for their dream house. Later, clients can purchase the property at a predetermined price.
The proptech startup raised $165 million from Jay-Z, an American rapper, songwriter, record executive, entrepreneur, and media proprietor and Will Smith, an American actor, rapper, and film producer, among others.