Media & entertainment tech

Rihanna Shines Bright As Celebrity-To-VC Example

Photo of Rihanna.

Halfway through an understated and spellbinding Super Bowl Halftime Show, Rihanna touches up her makeup with a Fenty compact, reminding all of us of one thing: Belting out “Only Girl” in front of millions of viewers is just a hobby.

Rihanna is probably the first billionaire to entertain us with a Super Bowl performance, at least according to an estimation by Forbes, which reported her net worth to be around $1.7 billion. She is indeed balling bigger than LeBron.

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Most of that comes from her makeup line Fenty Beauty, which accounts for around $1.4 billion of her estimated $1.7 billion net worth, according to Forbes.

It was her first foray into business after her 2016 album (the last time she dropped music). In 2019, she also launched Savage X Fenty, a lingerie brand that has raised more than $300 million from Neuberger Berman Group and L Catterton. The company reportedly looked into going public last year but, like many companies, decided to hold off.

Per Crunchbase data, Rihanna has used some of her wealth to invest in startups as an angel investor. In 2021, she contributed to Partake Foods’ $4.8 million Series A (the company makes and sells allergen-free cookies) and an undisclosed amount to medical devices company Therabody (maker of massaging device Theragun), according to Crunchbase data.

She also contributed to Destree, a fellow fashion label, in 2022.

The celebrity-to-VC pipeline

Rihanna, aka Robyn Rihanna Fenty, is perhaps the best example of why celebrities are starting their own venture firms and, in some cases, their own companies. Last year’s Halftime Show performance was dotted with prolific performers such as Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre and Marshall Mathers — all of whom have made investments in the startup world.

Snoop Dogg, one of the performers on stage with them, founded Casa Verde Capital, an investment firm focused primarily on the marijuana industry. But he’s also invested in the likes of unicorns Klarna and Robinhood.

They’re not the only ones. Actors have also gotten in on the VC game. Selena Gomez founded mental health startup Wondermind and makeup company Rare Beauty. She also invested in Gopuff, per Crunchbase data. Ashton Kutcher (who was actually the first celebrity I knew to go the VC route), is a general partner and founder at Sound Ventures, which started in 2015 and has made nearly 200 investments in companies like Acorns, Calm and Noom.

Photo: Sigma, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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