Our favourite celebrity startup investors

Written by Anna King

#insurtech #innovation

Working all hours to get your startup off the ground might not be the most glamorous lifestyle but if you’re lucky, your hard work might catch the eye of a real-life superstar. Startup investment has attracted all sorts of household names over the years, all of them looking for ways to put their millions to good use, while supporting exciting new businesses.

Here’s just a handful of our favourite celebrity angels:

Andy Murray

Hard work, intense pressure, extreme highs and lows. The life of a professional tennis player isn’t unlike running a startup. Perhaps that’s why Andy Murray has become one of the most prolific startup investors in the sports world, with over 30 investments so far.

Through a strategic partnership with the investment platform, Seedrs, Murray has helped fund businesses such as Investly, the invoice financing platform, Landbay, the mortgage lender, and Perkbox, the perks and benefits company.

Having supported a diverse portfolio of sectors and stages of business, he should be in for some healthy returns in the coming years.

Venus and Serena Williams

Not to be outdone, tennis’s most famous sisters, Venus and Serena Williams, have also been getting in on the startup action.

Venus was one of a number of female stars to help fund Ellevest, an investment platform specifically designed for female founders.

Meanwhile, Serena joined Gwyneth Paltrow in supporting Daily Harvest, the frozen superfood subscription service, and also owns shares and sits on the board of SurveyMonkey, the survey platform that has just filed to go public. So, a nice windfall could be on the cards.

Ashton Kutcher

Our list wouldn’t be complete without probably the ultimate startup investor, Ashton Kutcher.

In fact, Kutcher has been so successful that his status as an investor has almost eclipsed his fame as an actor, so needless to say he’s done pretty well.

Having co-founded a venture capital firm, A-Grade Ventures, back in 2010, he and his co-founders turned $30m into $250m in just six years, an 8.5x investment multiple. And when you see the list of names in its portfolio, you can understand why – Spotify, Uber, Soundcloud and Airbnb, to name just a few.

Adele

Not all superstar investors like the limelight, preferring to keep their investments under wraps. That appears to be the case with Adele, the superstar songstress, who, rumour has it, invested in London virtual reality startup, EVR Holdings, last year – although she hasn’t publicly confirmed it.

EVR is the maker of the MelodyVR app, which lets music fans get the full live gig experience, via a VR headset. The investment would certainly make sense for Adele, who is famous for her powerful live performances, meaning her cash could ensure the gig experience is accessible from the comfort of your sofa in the not too distant future.

Will.i.am

You might imagine that the Black Eyed Peas founder would opt for an entertainment business as his startup focus, but Will.i.am has followed a completely different route.

First of all, he has founded his own tech startup, I.am+, which is developing customer service voice assistants for the corporate market - with customers including Deutsche Telecom.

And to follow that, he has also become a strategic board advisor to the UK challenger bank, Atom, apparently with the option of taking a £4m stake in the company. Let’s hope he’s getting to grips with the UK savings and mortgage market then!

Beyonce

And last but by no means least, Queen Bey has also been busy on the startup scene, investing in a number of interesting ventures in the last few years.

One is Sidestep, an app for buying artist and concert merchandise, enabling fans to skip the merch queue, by buying their souvenirs before or after the gig. Beyonce was so impressed by Sidestep’s work on her Formation World Tour, that she joined its $1.7m seed round along with other stars such as Jared Leto.

And that’s not all. Queen Bey has also invested in WTRMLN WTR, the watermelon beverage company, and helped start a vegan food company, called 22 Day Nutrition. Nice work.

As these celebrities have found, their cash can make all the difference to young businesses, providing funds they need to get off the ground. But celebrities aren’t the only route to getting the dosh you need to fuel your startup. For more on how the investment process works, check out our blog on finding the perfect investment partner.

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