Every teen pop star eventually reaches a fork in the road, around the time of his/or her eighteenth birthday, when things must change. Is it time for more emotionally mature musical stylings? Perhaps a venture into feature filmmaking? Maybe it’s the time for a few years of college? Then there’s always the classic drug-fueled descent into the gutter and/or rehab and/or obscurity.
Obviously, the adults in Justin Bieber’s life would prefer to avoid the latter. And since Drew Magery making a man out of him was out of the question, manager Scott “Scooter” Braun has another idea: venture capital.
According to Forbes, the Biebs is just the latest in a series of celebs investing their show-biz dollars in tech startups. Here’s how it works:
In a typical Bieber deal he’ll put in about $250,000 at the favorable pricing generally reserved for smart money—the kind of strategic partners that help a company long term. Braun won’t disclose the size of Bieber’s portfolio but says it’s between 2% and 5% of the singer’s net worth. FORBES puts Bieber’s fortune at about $80 million, which translates to somewhere in the ballpark of $3 million in venture investments.
The article reports that he’s got stakes in (among other things, not all of which they’ll disclose) Tinychat, Stamped, and Spotify, and is working on Viddy. (As a matter of fact, that looks an awful lot like Ashton Kutcher’s portfolio. By our count, @aplusk has stakes in Tinychat and Spotify, as well as Viddy competitor Socialcam.) Ellen Degeneres apparently sold him on the idea of Sojo Studios (in which the talk show host and Covergirl is already an investor), as well. Mr. Bieber explained to Forbes, “Scooter has a team that helps find investments… Usually we work together. If I find something, I bring it to the table.”
We suppose there are worse things to do with $80 million. As a matter of fact, here’s an example from another profile that went live today, this one from GQ:
The [new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van] is exactly the car that an 18-year-old with too much money would drive. The interior is lined with Alcantara. There are two reclining seats way in back, with bucket seats lining the driver’s side of the main cabin, as in a stretch limo. There are three hi-def TVs, a computer dock, and a fully operational recording studio along the passenger side. All that’s missing is a button that spews out an oil slick, Spy Hunter–style, to foil paparazzi.
That said, the failure risk is probably lower for Mercedes-Benz vans than it is for venture-backed startups.