9 Companies That Gained Credibility Through Celebrity Investment

9 Companies That Gained Credibility Through Celebrity Investment
When a celebrity gets paid to endorse a product, you can’t be sure if they really stand behind it. But when a celebrity takes a large chunk of their own money and invests in a startup, you know they see something promising.

It’s likely every startup’s dream to receive investment capital from celebrities, not just for the money but for the reputation it can help create for their product. Celebrity endorsement of any kind brings social credibility to a business for many reasons, and not just because they’re famous.

Celebrities can be experienced investors

Fame and fortune aside, many celebrities are known to be savvy investors, and have spent many years learning to spot investments with a strong potential for a good ROI.
Here are 9 examples of startups gaining some serious traction, generating investment capital from celebrities, and riding the wake of social proof:

1. Masterclass

Masterclass offers courses taught by world-class experts. With on-demand video content created by well known masters across a variety of industries, you can learn from the best at your own pace. The courses include classes like:

• Writing taught by James Patterson
• Tennis taught by Serena Williams
• Film-making taught by Werner Herzog
• Country music taught by Reba McEntire

Both actor Robert Downey Jr. and musician Usher have contributed a portion of the $15 million investment capital obtained by Masterclass.

2. Honest Dollar

Acquired by Goldman Sachs in March, this Texas startup is designed to help small businesses setup their employees with retirement-savings programs—something formerly unavailable to businesses without many employees.

Honest Dollar received investment capital from Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am.

3. Headspace

Ryan Seacrest, Jared Leto, and Jessica Alba have all invested in this health and wellness app that aims to help people live healthier, happier lives by prioritizing the health of their minds.

With a guided meditation and other mindfulness exercises, this app is a great way for you to de-stress at the end of your day.

4. Mr. Radio

This startup app, created by Music Messenger, has received over $30 million in funding from celebrities including David Guetta, Benny Andersson (Abba), will.i.am, Aviici, and Gee Roberson.

Mr. Radio is a music streaming app that leverages stations from Shoutcast, and allows users to quickly share their favorite tracks with friends through a messaging service.
Other well-known investors in this company include Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and angel investor Oded Kobo.

5. Vastrm

Vastrm solves a problem in the world of fashion that has been begrudgingly tolerated for too long—polo shirts that never seem to fit.

Vastrm will send you a regular polo shirt so you can give them feedback on how it would fit better. Perhaps the sleeves need to be an inch longer, the waist needs to be taken in, or the neck needs to be a little wider. Once you send in your feedback, they craft a custom polo for you.
It should be no surprise that Will Smith, one of Hollywood’s best-dressed actors, has invested heavily in this innovative company.

6. Casper

Beauty products aren’t the only products that arrive in a box at your door. Casper is a New York based startup that delivers a comfortable mattress—in a box—right to your door.

Celebrities helped Casper generate over $55 million in capital in a recent funding round including Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, retired basketball player Steve Nash, Adam Levine (Maroon 5, Gym Class Heroes), and Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun.

7. VIPKid

Founded in 2013, VIPKid is an online platform that helps children in China between the ages of 4-12 learn English from teachers in North America. The classes are available on-demand, allowing children the ability to receive a fully immersed education from the comfort of their own home.

VIPKid generated $100 million dollars in funding from Bryand Stibel, the venture capital firm created by Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel.

With over half a million users, VIPKid is well on their way to success.

8. Docusign

Founded by Tom Gonser in 2003, DocuSign provides companies with a way to collect and file official signatures electronically, eliminating the need to mail paper back and forth in a time when everything needs to be done immediately.

A list of investors released by DocuSign include celebrity skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and famed actor/musician Jared Leto.

9. Airbnb

Airbnb is transforming the way people book travel accommodations by connecting people with empty houses or spare rooms to people looking for a better deal on a good night’s sleep. Airbnb is a great solution from all sides—the host can make money, and the guest can save money.
This company received a hefty sum of funding from Ashton Kutcher. And although he started out simply investing, Kutcher is now joining the company’s team as a strategic advisor.

Celebrity investment is the ultimate social proof

It’s hard to tell whether these companies would have succeeded if it weren’t for their celebrity investments, but one thing is for sure—when celebrities with high credibility invest large sums of money in companies that are just getting started, there’s probably a good reason. And if you have a great idea, share it on social media as much as you can. You just might be the next celebrity-funded startup.

Top image: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images
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