By Victor Ochieng
Business mogul and rapper Jay Z is reportedly launching a venture capital in partnership with Sherpa Capital, a venture capital that has invested in several businesses, including Uber, Slack, and Airbnb. In the business, he’ll also partner with his long time business partner Jay Brown, who’s also the current president of Roc Nation. The business venture is expected to focus on startups, with the objective of providing seed funding, a move akin to the kind of investment the two have been involved in over the past five years, albeit as angel investors.
Jay Z’s investment in Uber’s 2011 Series B funding phase is one of his most successful investments today. He made the investment at a time the business was worth $300 million. According to CNBC reports, the company’s value has since leaped to a whopping $66 billion.
Through Roc Nation, Jay Z has made several seed investments mainly targeting technology startups. Some of the notable ones are the private jet rental business BlackJet and French audio equipment business Devialet. He’s also separately made investments in other businesses such as the NBA’s Nets.
Jay Z has earned some notable profits on his investments. He purchased Tidal two years ago for $56 million. Even though there are reports of the company struggling compared to some of its fiercest rivals like Spotify, which boasts of more than 40 million subscribers against Tidal’s 3 million, Sprint recently went into a deal to acquire a 33% stake of Tidal for about $200 million.
Jay Z joins the list of other celebrities who have also dived into tech investment. Rapper Nas, through his QueensBridge venture capital fund, has pumped in money into over 40 startups drawn from a wide range of sectors, including technology, finance, music production, and health.
Although not a household name, music manager Troy Carter is the founder of Atom Factory, in which he serves as both chairman and CEO. The talent management company has notable clients, including big names like John Legend and Meghan Trainor.
He’s also the former manager of music star Lady Gaga. Through his company, he’s invested in more than 30 startups and also invested in Crosse Cultures Ventures, a venture capital fund that channels funds to entrepreneurs keen on developing next generation technology and consumer goods. Of these, eight are headed by Blacks.
Also worth mentioning is nine-time NBA All-star Carmelo Anthony, who joined hands with entrepreneur Stuart Goldfarb to create Melo7 Tech Partners, also a venture capital funds with investments across different businesses, including SeatGeek, Lyft, and Whistle, a GPS tracker used on pets.
After retiring from the NBA, MVP Kobe Bryant announced a $100 million investment in venture capital fund.