Influencers don’t just make money from brand deals these days. A growing number are investing in startups, both individually and by starting their own venture capital firms. The trend of traditional celebrities, like Jay-Z or Ashton Kutcher, investing in startups has been happening for years, but it’s only more recently that social media stars have been embracing VC investing.
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From a business perspective, it makes sense. They have money to invest, connections and a big audience they can promote products and services to. From the perspective of a startup considering taking investment from an influencer, there’s the chance to reach more potential customers when a social media star is an investor and promotes a product to their millions of followers.
Here are some of the most prominent TikTok stars to pivot to VC.
Richards launched Animal Capital with fellow TikTok stars Noah Beck and Griffin Johnson. Animal Capital’s $15 million fund is backed by Anthony Scaramucci and the Winklevoss twins Tyler and Cameron, among others.
Richards has expressed his desire to be the first influencer billionaire.
The D’Amelio Family
The D’Amelio family, or “the First Family of TikTok,” announced earlier this month that it is starting its own venture fund, 444 Capital. The fund, which aims to raise up to $25 million, will invest in fast-growing companies with “strong user-end brands,” according to TechCrunch. 444 Capital will invest in sectors including fintech, edtech and insurtech.
While 444 Capital is the family’s biggest step into the world of VC, it isn’t its first foray. Charli D’Amelio has invested in Step, a mobile-based banking app for teens. And the entire family, which includes Dixie D’Amelio and parents Marc and Heidi D’Amelio, invested in app developer Lightricks.
Bryce Hall, perhaps most known for TikTok fame and being the leader of the now-defunct creator collaborative Sway House, has made a number of personal investments in startups. According to Crunchbase data, Hall has invested in at least five startups, including seed-stage investments in homebuilding startup Atmos and money saving platform Price.com.
Connections between many of the TikTok stars run deep. Johnson is also a co-founder of Animal Capital, alongside Richards and Noah Beck. Animal Capital hypes up its social media user reach when pitching itself to investors, according to CNN.
Johnson himself has more than 10 million followers on TikTok and more than 3 million followers on Instagram.
Beck has invested in at least three startups, according to Crunchbase data, including Price.com and Parallel Learning. He’s also the co-founder of Animal Capital.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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