Beyond simply investing in companies
, a handful of savvy celebrities have taken a more hands-on approach—creating their own startups. So, who are these entrepreneurs and what have they built?
David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons
Description: Though he is famous for working in an exceedingly plain corporate office for a paper company, Rainn Wilson’s SoulPancake is a creative take on a media and entertainment company. Founded in 2009, the company works to highlight and spread optimism through digital, television and branded entertainment—and is recognized for creating fun, positive, inspirational content.
Take a look at our SoulPancake profile preview
Eva Rinaldi/Wikimedia Commons
Company: Funny or Die
Description: If you’re a fan of comedy, you might already recognize Funny or Die—co-founded by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy. The media company creates and hosts comedy-oriented content. In the company’s most recent deal, AMC provided $44.5M of operating capital in exchange for a minority stake. Beyond capital, this latest deal is fueled by the goal of encouraging collaborations with AMC’s existing resources, particularly IFC, a cable channel it operates.
Take a look at our Funny or Die profile preview
Title: Co-Founder and CEO
No one can doubt that will.i.am is a multi-talented individual. Most are familiar with his singing, songwriting and music producing—but he is also an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Taking the lead at his company, i.am+, he is attempting to weave fashion and technology together through artificial intelligence and machine learning. Having raised $123M to date, i.am+, has a post-valuation of $267M.
Take a look at our i.am+ profile preview
Brian Solis/Wikimedia Commons
Chamillionaire (Hakeem Seriki)
Company: X Empire
Title: Executive Officer, President & Board Member
As his name suggests, Chamillionaire is able to fit in almost anywhere. Originally from Houston, the rapper has recently been finding success in the tech world. Through his video messaging platform, called Convoz, he aims to connect users of all types (including celebrities, politicians, entertainers). Though his company is in its early stages (having successfully raised $3M in February 2016), it has funding from Greycroft
, Precursor Ventures
, Upfront Ventures
and XG Ventures
—and a current valuation of $13.64M.
Take a look at our X Empire profile preview
Originally known as a reality television personality and socialite, Kim Kardashian quickly became an entrepreneur in the retail and fashion space. In 2008, she co-founded Shoedazzle.com, which is a platform for fast-fashion footwear and personalized styling. Five years later the company was acquired by competitor JustFab.
Take a look at our Shoedazzle.com profile preview