Monday, September 19, 2011

Startup Investing Is The New Black

First there was Ashton Kutscher ("An Actor Who Knows Start Ups"). From the New York Times in May, after Ashton's appearance at the techCrunch Disrupt:

In recent years, Mr. Kutcher has become a smart early investor in some of the most talked-about Internet start-ups, including Foursquare, the mobile social network; Path, a photo-sharing application; and Flipboard, a news-reading app for the iPad.

He has also clearly mastered the utopian lingo of Silicon Valley: “I look for companies that solve problems in intelligent and friction-free ways and break boundaries,” he said in an interview this week.

Then, his rival, Justin Timberlake, who starred in the social network, jumped onto the bandwagon. Now Justin Bieber is a startup investor. According to mashable:

His 12.6 million Twitter fans are some of the most active around, according to the company; they account for about 3% of Twitter’s infrastructure at any given time. His video for “Baby” was the most watched on YouTube last year.
Now sources within the startup scene say Bieber is about to launch himself into a new role: angel investor for early stage companies.

Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, has talked about such a move for some time. Here’s what he told TechCrunch at its conference in June: “For all of you young entrepreneurs out there watching, if you have a brilliant idea, Troy [Lady Gaga's manager] and I will combine the powers of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. Give us a large piece of equity.”

“I realized that the power our artists have created for themselves on Facebook, on Twitter on YouTube are very, very valuable for launching these platforms,” he added. “The great thing about technology that works, and that isn’t dependent on a Gaga or a Justin, but can be launched by a Gaga or a Justin.”

Celebrity: check; Massive Twitter following: check; Early startup investing: check. Sound familiar?

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