10 People You Didn’t Know Were In Tech
Hip hop star, Ghostface Killah, has become one of the most recent celebs to move into tech startup territory, following the launch of his business, Cream Capital, a cryptocurrency firm that is developing a digital currency called Cream Cash in the form of tokens that will equal the value of a U.S. dollar, according to Mashable.
He is one of a growing number of famous faces going into the world of tech startups as both celebrity investors and techpreneurs. Actor, Ashton Kutcher and Irish musician Bono have been regular investors in a number of VC ventures, and the likes of South African DJ Black Coffee and actor Maps Maponyane, are doing the same on the local front.
Celeb investors are increasingly looking at investing in tech startups.
“The year 2015 was the most active investment year on record for these celebs, when they contributed to roughly $2B invested across 101 deals to private tech companies. So far this year, we have seen celebrity investors – including actors, athletes, and musicians – participate in approximately 42 deals totaling nearly $500M,” states a CB Insights study.
From Silicon Valley to Silicon Maboneng, here are 10 of our favourite international and local celebs who have joined the tech ecosystem – and are making a killing.
Startups Backed: Member of ‘90s hip hop group, Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah, is the co-founder of Cream Capital, and according to their website, he also serves as the chief branding officer to the company with a focus on increasing brand awareness and strength.
Startups Backed: A notable tech investor, actor Ashton Kutcher, is “by far and away” the most active celebrity investor, according to CB Insights, writes Mashable. In 2009, the Two and Half Men star invested in Skype, which Microsoft bought for $8.6 billion two years later. He is also co-founder of venture capital fund A-Grade Investments with Guy Oseary and Ron Burkle, and has invested in more than two dozen companies including Airbnb, online, peer-to-peer carsharing service, Getaround, e-commerce company, Fab, and Box Inc., a Silicon Valley cloud content management and file sharing service for businesses.
Startups Backed: Jay Z, one of the world’s most famous rappers, invested in a number of companies including Uber, in 2011; “Instagram for video” app Viddy and private jet startup BlackJet in 2012 – which both failed; “Uber for private planes” startup, JetSmarter; and high-tech French speaker maker Devialet, according to Techcrunch. Jay Z is also one of the founding artists of the first artist-owned streaming service in the world, Tidal. Artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna and Kanye West are also co-owners of Tidal.
Startups Backed: Serena Williams invested in Mobli, a real-time photo and video sharing mobile application, in 2012. According to Forbes, Williams joined the board of SurveyMonkey, an online survey development cloud-based software as a service company, in May this year. She also invested in Mayvenn, a startup that enables stylists to sell products directly to their clients.
Startups Backed: Former Victoria’s Secret model Tyra Banks invested in The Muse, a company which helps people figure out what to do for a living, and video greetings card company VideoGram, according to Business Insider.
Startups Backed: One of South Africa’s top DJs, Black Coffee was recently announced as a new incoming private investor in on-demand cleaning startup, SweepSouth‘s Series A financing round. According to SME South Africa, the investment round was led by Smollan, the international retail solutions company, as well as Draper Dark Flow, the Silicon Valley VC Fund for Africa established by Tim Draper.
Startups Backed: Model and actor, Maponyane is also a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. He is co-founder of tech company, Niche Streem, which develops niche music streams, and is also a director of Silicon Maboneng, which creates tech solutions with a focus on development, according to a GQ article.