Who is America’s Top Celebrity Investor?
Most of you in the tech industry have heard of the top tier VCs: Sequoia, Accel, Kleiner Perkins, and so on who have gone on to back some of the biggest names in tech. Some of you may even know popular angel investors such as Ron Conway, Alexis Ohanian, and Gary Vaynerchuck.
But off the top of your head, which celebrity investor do you think reigns supreme? And of those celebrity investors, how many of their investments are doing well?
Top 5 Celebrity Investors and their Portfolio Companies
Below are the top 5 startup investors as ranked by Inc.com along with their notable investments. The associated Growth Score is a Mattermark metric that indicates overall traction of a company. In this case, the Growth Score is the average of all the companies’ individual Growth Scores in each portfolio.
1) Bono (via Elevation Partners)
Elevation Partners is a leading private equity firm focused on investments in new media, entertainment and technology businesses. Bono serves on the investment team. Now, is it named after the popular hit Elevation by U2? I’ll leave that up to you to speculate…
- Growth Score: 2,560
- Notable Investments: Facebook, Yelp and Sonos
- Investment to Watch: Sano
Sano develops wearables that monitor metabolic activity and the bloodstream. It’s currently a Pre Series A startup with a Growth Score of 173 and has almost doubled its employees to 26 in the past six months.
I don’t think Leonardo DiCaprio needs an introduction. How many of you thought of him as a celebrity investor? He better win an Oscar (finally) for The Revenant, if not, he still has this sweet portfolio.
- Growth Score: 602
- Notable investments: Casper, Rubicon
- Investment to Watch: Cue
Cue helps you access deeper information from your body by tracking it at the molecular level. Track your testosterone levels, fertility, vitamin D levels, inflammation and test for the influenza virus. It recently received its Series A on 12/26/2015 and has a Growth Score of 106. They’ve already almost doubled its employees to 21 in the past six months so with the new injection of capital they should be primed for growth.
Ashton Kutcher is probably who most of you immediately thought of when I said “celebrity investor,” and for good reason. He’s been very vocal and the press has been very friendly in covering his investments. He’s also done a lot of deals, we’ve got him at 62 investments (six in 2015).
- Growth Score: 489
- Notable investments: Zenefits, Twitter, Square
- Investment to Watch: Panorama Education
Panorama Education partners with K-12 schools to collect and analyze feedback from teachers, parents and students. Panorama’s technology platform helps teachers grow, and schools use Panorama’s tools to address issues such as parent involvement, bullying prevention, school safety and student engagement. Panorama is currently a Series A startup with a Growth Score of 369 and has almost doubled its employee count to 46 over the past six months. It’s also one of the top 5 fastest growing EdTech/analytics companies in the US.
4) Jared Leto
I did not see this one coming. Who knew Jared’s investment game is just as strong as his hair game? We’ve got him at 14 investments, some of which are very well known companies!
- Growth Score: 1,088
- Notable Investments: Zenefits, Docusign, Reddit, Blue Bottle Coffee (yum)
- Investment to Watch: RobinHood
Robinhood is a mobile application that allows $0 commission stock trading. Fun fact — cofounder Vlad Tenev and I went to the same high school! Robinhood is currently a Series B startup with a Growth Score of 690. It has increased its employees by over 50% to 65 in the past six months and is one of the fastest growing startups in the FinTech space. This space is projected to be one of the largest in the next decade, having received $12bn in VC investments in 2014, 3x as much in 2013.
5) Nasir “Nas” Jones
Music Icon, Harvard Fellow, and Tech Investor. Nas also is a partner at Queensbridge Venture Partners but we’re basing this off his personal investments. He’s probably most well known for his investment in Rap Genius (Genius) but we’ve got 38 other investments.
- Growth Score: 409
- Notable Investments: Tilt, Coinbase, SeatGeek
- Investment to Watch: Boosted Boards
Boosted Boards is an electric skateboard to solve the last mile problem. If you’ve ever seen people riding on the unmistakeable board with orange wheels, then you have encountered a Boosted Board.
Boosted Boards is currently a Pre Series A startup with a Growth Score of 582. It has almost doubled its employee size to 31 over the past six months and hasn’t received funding since its first in July of 2013! It is also one of the top 3 fastest growing early stage B2C hardware startups.
So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed this fun piece as much as I did writing it. Now go drop some knowledge you tech bros you.
On a more serious note, if your job requires researching private companies and are interested in Mattermark for deal sourcing, research or data enrichment, give me a shout at thomas (at) mattermark.com :)