When founders make it in the tech industry, they become a celebrity of sorts. They become recognizable among the startup community and, occasionally, the greater public if Aaron Sorkin writes a movie about their story.
It’s no surprise that actual celebrities are testing the waters, and fiscal returns, of tech by personally investing in startups. These icons chose to place their bets on New York’s tech scene.
The investor: Jared Leto
Between winning an Academy Award and leading vocals for his band Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto still finds time to invest. The actor, singer-songwriter and director has backed big name companies like Reddit, Zenefits and Headspace. Leto has also contributed to New York-based startups Frame.io and Reserve, which also garnered an additional celebrity contribution from actor Jon Favreau.
The investor: Venus Williams
Ranked as one of the all-time greats for women’s tennis, Venus Williams is known for her record-breaking athleticism alongside her sister Serena Williams. It turns out, the athlete is also dipping her toes into the tech space, and invested in Ellevest, a digital investment advisor for women, last year.
The investor: Ashton Kutcher
Largely known for his acting work in comedies, Kutcher also created, produced and hosted the hit MTV show, Punk’d. These days, Kutcher has found success as a venture capitalist, creating his own venture firm A-Grade Investments and investing in more than 50 different companies. While Kutcher has been involved with companies like Skype, Foursquare and Airbnb, he also participated in funding New York-based public safety software startup, Mark43. Fun fact: Sophia Bush and Jeff Bezos are also investors in the company.
The investor: Kevin Spacey
From Keyser Söze to Frank Underwood, Kevin Spacey is most well-known for his Oscar-winning performances and TV character portrayals worthy of a cult following. The actor has also made a number of tech investments over recent years, betting on companies like New York-based Frame.io and Woofbert VR.
The investor: Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon has been a mainstay in American comedy for years, from his run on Saturday Night Live to his more recent gigs as the host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. A New Yorker through and through, Fallon has made strategic investments in New York-based startups turntable.fm and Ando, which also garnered an investment from comedian Aziz Ansari.
The investor: Leonardo DiCaprio
DiCaprio earned acting accolades at a young age, particularly for his memorable roles in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Titanic. Over the years, DiCaprio has tried his hand at tech investing, backing New York-based startups like Qloo and Casper, which Toby Maguire and Adam Levine also invested in.
Investor: Jessica Alba
When Jessica Alba isn’t acting, she running The Honest Company, which she co-founded and works as Chief Creative Officer. She has also made a handful of personal investments in additional tech upstarts, such as Headspace, Honor and New York-based Managed by Q.
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