10 Celebs That You Didn’t Know Invest In Tech
Technology touches every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s how we manage our finances, access our groceries, get around town, or even watch movies—technology is at the center. While you may know your favorite celebrity for entertaining you in some way, whether it’s rapping your favorite song, shooting a three from half court, or starring in your favorite drama; this is not the only way the stars make their money. Several of your favorite celebrities have chosen to grow their fortunes exponentially by making smart investments in tech companies. Whether it’s companies like Lyft, Coinbase, or Noom—there are Black celebrities that saw the value in these companies and had the foresight that it would create change or facilitate the way we live.
Here are 10 celebrities that you didn’t know invested in tech. Find out which companies are helping these Black millionaires grow their fortunes while simultaneously making our world a better place.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant may have another injury, but his pockets aren’t hurting. The 32-year-old is the third-highest earner in the NBA with his Nike and Foot Locker endorsements and he’s putting that money to good use. Kevin Durant invested in Coinbase, the platform that allows people to securely buy, sell, and store their cryptocurrency. The company IPO’d last week and will technically be the largest IPO in U.S. history (it’s not “really” considered an IPO because it’s not raising new capital by going public). The company was founded in 2012 and KD invested in 2017. His stake is now worth 53 times the amount! This isn’t the only investment win for the D.C. born star. Through his investment company, Thirty Five Ventures, KD invested in Postmates before it was sold to Uber. He also has investments in several other companies, including esports organization Andbox.
Gabrielle Union is helping us achieve Flawless Curls, with her hair care line. However, she’s also using her funds in the tech space as well. This year, the actress has quietly begun to invest in tech companies. In January, she invested in Flockjay’s Series A round. Flockjay is an online academy that is making tech industry more accessible by helping job seekers break into the field through tools and training. In February, she furthered her commitment to diversity by investing in First Boulevard, a fintech startup that is working toward closing the wealth gap among Black Americans.
The tennis star is winning on and off the court. According to the Women’s Tennis Association, she has made over $90M in prize money in the 25 years she’s been playing. In 2019, she was the only woman athlete to make Forbes’ list of the world’s highest paying athletes. So what is the tennis star doing with all her money? In a 2020 interview with People Magazine she shared, “I usually invest my funds. I’m the most boring spender ever. Don’t spend it, invest it.” She’s taking this idealogy to the next level. In 2014, she founded Serena Ventures. The fund has a $14B market cap portfolio with over 50 companies, and 60% of her investments are with diverse founders. Some of her investments include Noom, a psychology-based weight loss app as well as Mayvenn, an online hair company that’s business model allows you to buy your bundles online and they pay for your install (seriously!).
Nas’ album Life Is Good must have been foreshadowing. The Queensbridge-born rapper founded an investment company named after the projects where he grew up. He co-founded Queensbridge Venture Partners (QVP) in 2014 and the portfolio has invested in over 100 early-stage technology companies. His manager, Anthony Saleh, gave props to the investment savvy of the lyrical genius. On social media, he wrote, “Nas would beat any artist in a tech investment portfolio Verzuz.” Nas posted it to his Instagram with a simple caption: “I agree.” The native New Yorker truly has bragging rights—he’s invested in a slew of companies that have made his company hundreds of millions of dollars. He was an early investor in PillPack, a prescription drug delivery service that was acquired by Amazon in 2018 for $750M. QVP also invested in Ring, the home-security startup which Amazon also acquired in 2018 for a whopping $1.2B. He’s also an investor in the ride-sharing company Lyft, ticket reseller SeatGeek, cloud storage company Dropbox, as well as stock trading app Robinhood. He undoubtedly knows how to spot a winner. He was an early investor in Coinbase and can cash in at about $173M.
Beyoncé is living up to her song and proving that girls run the world. With a net worth of approximately $450M, she ranked #55 on Forbes 2020 list of the top 100 richest self-made women in entertainment and business. She’s accrued a lot of her wealth through touring, her On The Run II Tour with Jay-Z grossed more than $250M! She’s also in the fashion business with Ivy Park, her activewear line with Adidas. However, the Third Ward native is also investing in tech through her company, Parkwood Entertainment. She is a co-owner of Tidal, a global music-streaming and entertainment platform owned by artists. Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square recently took a $297M majority stake in Tidal. Beyoncé, along with the 15 other initial artist partners were gifted 3% in equity of Tidal, which would give Beyoncé $9M from this idea. This isn’t the only way that Beyoncé has used her star power to grow her wealth. In 2015 she performed at an Uber corporate event; however, instead of being paid her $6M fee, she was gifted that amount in restricted stock units (RSU’s). Based on the company’s current stock price, her shares are worth over $8M.
Oprah Winfrey has built her empire through a media company, tv network, and magazine. However, the content queen is investing in a variety of food companies to provide you and me with healthier food options including the popular non-dairy brand Oatly and the wellness restaurant chain True Food Kitchen. However, in 2020 she invested in the Series D round for Apeel Sciences, a company that is helping to reduce food waste through a plant-based protection layer that goes over your food to provide longevity. This recent round is allowing them to create Apeel-powered supply chains in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, as well as Mexico that will minimize food loss without refrigeration. Welcome to the food future.
Keshia Knight Pulliam
Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam is moving on up and started her own $5M fund with entrepreneur Arian Simone to bridge the gap in the VC world for Black women founders. Dubbed The Fearless Fund, investments have been made in six companies with the plan to invest in fourteen more. Their portfolio includes AmP Beauty LA, an online beauty retailer that uses AI and data science to provide beauty needs for women of color.
You might remember Chamillionaire from his early 2000’s hit Ridin’ but what you may not know is that he’s been investing in the tech scene since 2009. He was an early investor in Makers Studio which sold to Disney in 2014 for $675M. Chamillionaire, whose real name is Hakeem Temidayo Seriki became the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Upfront Ventures in 2015 which led to opportunities for him to invest early in start-ups. He’s an early investor in Ring as well as the publicly traded company ride-sharing app Lyft. He also invested in Mitú, a digital media company focused on the Latinx point of view. Seriki is even dabbling in the tech scene himself with the creation of Convoz, an app that encourages conversation on trending topics through video.
Spectacular Smith is a member of the R&B group Pretty Ricky and we’re sure you’ll be pretty surprised by his role in the social media space. Smith knew he was destined for entrepreneurship from a young age when he turned candy school sales into a $2K a week business. Fast forward to today, Smith is the Founder and CEO of Adwizar, a marketing company that specializes in influencer marketing, social media management and consulting, monetization and more. Many well-known celebrities have used his company to grow their following including Trina, Soulja Boy, and Kevin Gates. His company is behind the success of Grumpy Cat and profited $100M from its success. As if this isn’t impressive enough, Smith also attended Harvard Business School in 2018.