Celebrity backed startups

By Tim Hinchliffe September 8, 2016
microsoft lifograph fireside chat

Celebrities, like ‘em or loathe ‘em, have hella money. For those not down with the kids, that means ‘a lot’ of money.

And what do you do when you have tons of money? You look for ways to make more money, obviously.

Anyway, as tech giant Microsoft has recently partnered with comedian Kevin Hart (pictured above with Microsoft’s own David Mendlen) to form a business partnership, we thought we’d take a look at startups that had received – and succeeded from – celebrity backing.

Our top five

Shots and the Biebs

Shots, the selfie sharing app backed by recently crowned ‘prince of pop’ Justin Bieber, fell flat on its face when release in 2013. Shots has since surprised the world with its success. The app now has 10 million registered users, many of whom are teen fangirls of Bieber. Power to the Beliebers.



Ashton Kutcher famously invested in Airbnb during its startup stage years ago. The shares he bought are now worth a tenfold of what he paid for them then. When asked about his investment strategy, Kutcher said that he “became an apprentice” to other tech investors because he “doesn’t like to fail.”


Going Gaga for startups

Beginning as a startup that created private social networks for influencers and big brands, Backplane got its big break with Lady Gaga’s generous investment. The LittleMonsters.com fan network was initiated and received rave reviews. Backplane soon stepped out from Gaga’s shadow and soon expanded to cater to a larger clientele.


Thirty Seconds to $$$

Jared Leto is no stranger to startup investments. The singer and actor invested in over 50 early-stage tech companies such as Uber and Reddit. His favourite investment was Nest, a thermostat company which Google picked up for an impressive $3.2bn. We can clearly add investing to this man’s repertoire of skills.


Business Fe-realz

Emmy-winning comedy video website Funny or Die has had us in fits of laughter since 2007. It comes as no surprise then that kooky funnyman Will Ferrell was one of the founders of the website. The site has garnered immense success, and stays afloat through funding from HBO, Sequoia Capital and SV Angel.

By Cassandra Joseph


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