When most people think about celebrities, “smart” and “investment” are rarely words that come to mind.
After all, famous people are just rich for being famous, right?
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As it turns out, that assumption would be wrong (at least in same cases!)
Celebrities are increasingly moving towards investment – and merchandising.
Maria Sharapova has her own line of candy (called, of course, Sugarnova), and we have Dan Akroyd to thank for coming up with Crystal Head vodka – yes, really.
Check out these 9 celebrities who put their money where their fame is and turned it into a great investment:
1. Snoop Dogg
According to TheRichest, Snoop Dogg’s net worth currently measures in at $143 million – damn!
The iconic rapper has mastered the art of turning his name into a brand: Fans will be well-familiar with his line of merchandise being sold through his shop called SnooperMarket and he even has his own YouTube show called GGN Hood News.
It doesn’t stop there…
His other investments include:
He’s even looking towards investment in GameOn, an app that focuses on putting sports fans in touch to talk about their favorite teams and plays.
2. Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher is no stranger to investment. In 2009, he made an undisclosed (but reportedly massive) investment in Skype when the company’s value was measured at an astonishing $2.75 billion.
He even founded his own investment company called A-Grade investments in 2010 by combining his own talents with that of Guy Oseary and Ron Burkle.
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Other investments they’ve taken on together includes ventures like Foursquare, Fab and Uber.
In real life, Kutcher seems a little closer to billionaire Walden Schmidt than he does to Michael Kelso, doesn’t he?
3. Jay Z
Born as Shawn Corey Carter, the rapper known as Jay-Z is another celebrity investor who seems to favor start-up ventures to put his money.
According to The Richest’s Top 100 Richest Rappers, his net worth was measured at $550 million as of 2015 – and he’s diversified.
He sold his own company, called Rocawear, for an estimated $204 million.
He owns a nightclub in New York called The 40/40 and he has also put his money into, among many other things, a line of beauty products called Carol’s Daughter – which also captured investors like Jada Pinkett-Smith and her husband.
4. 50 Cent
Also known as Curtis James Jackson III, 50 Cent started off his investment career with an investment into Vitamin Water – a venture which turned out to be lucrative enough to gain him $100 million.
His line of merchandise is reminiscent of KISS, and includes everything from books (From Pieces to Weight), movies (Get Rich or Die Tryin’), video games (Bulletproof and Blood in the Sand) and more.
Cent also put his cents – “just a ‘lil bit” – into eyewear company Gunnar Optiks.
5. William Shatner
Priceline.com has been helping people track down deals for decades, but what does that have to do with William Shatner?
Well, in 1997 he was hired to become their official spokesperson, but there was only one problem: They couldn’t pay him for his efforts, and instead offered him a stake in the business. New York Times reported that Shatner was offered 125, 000 shares for his work.
This article on Benzinga.com reports that Shatner would’ve made at least $13 million from his investment – not the monster $600 million that had previously been reported (and later denied by Priceline CEO).
6. Will Ferrell
According to its official YouTube Channel, Funny or Die was founded in 2007 by Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow and Adam McKay.
The first skit to be uploaded to the site was entitled “The Landlord” – since then, the site has boomed.
This Bloomberg article reports that Funny or Die was looking at a sale in 2014, and the sale was eventually closed at a super serious $198 million when it was sold off to MTV/Viacom.
7. Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian is likely to come to mind when you think of “famous simply for being famous”, but the figures show otherwise.
The mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood alone generated $71.8 million in 2015.
Her mobile investment doesn’t stop there: She also has a series of emoticons, and an app called Kim Kardashian West which allows you a (paid) look into the universe of Kim.
She has also involved herself in getting the start-up ShoeDazzle off the ground, which has now been merged with JustFab.
At the time of writing, Kim has 47.3 million followers on Twitter and 22.2 thousand tweets. Talk about cashing in on celebrity status!
8. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is known as a singer with hits like Bad Romance and Pokerface.
But did you know she’s gotten into gaming investment?
She partnered with FarmVille creators Zynga in 2011 to create the off-shoot GagaVille, where players get to interact in a Gaga-themed universe – with unicorns, because why not?
Not all her investments did as well: She invested $1.8 million in start-up Backplane, a project which tanked.
Well, you can’t win them all – and her net worth is still at $275 million. If anything is to be learned from this: It’s not how much money you have, it’s how you’re using it…
9. Leonardo DiCaprio
Hey, who cares that Jack missed that lifeboat?
Leonardo diCaprio’s net worth measures in at $217 million.
He put around $4 million into a photo and video sharing site called Mobli.
DiCaprio’s enthusiasm for the project is shared by fellow Hollywood star Tobey Maguire and Carlos Slim, investor and supposedly the richest man in Mexico – not bad!
It seems as if celebrity investments are currently leaning towards startup companies that catch their eyes and wallets.
Could that be your business idea?