The world of celebrity investments is becoming more and more commonplace. And headlines about a famous person backing a new Silicon Valley startup seem to make the rounds every week. From professional athletes and actors to models and musicians, A-listers are putting their substantial wealth to good use.
A growing number of celebs are using their platforms to elevate new startups, entrepreneurs, and causes that they believe in. More and more, they’re investing in a broad range of sustainability-focused startups that are doing good for the planet, including food tech brands, fashion lines, and beauty brands.
Celebrities using their platforms for good
Take Grammy Award-winning musician Rihanna, for example. The business mogul, who recently achieved billionaire status last year, is using her affluence to fight the climate crisis. Earlier this year, she pledged $15 million through her charitable organization, The Clara Lionel Foundation, to groups that are working to mitigate global warming. She’s also invested in the vegan cookie brand Partake Foods.
Then, there’s Jay-Z. The most prolific celebrity backer, according to the Celebrity Investments Index, the hip-hop artist and entrepreneur has made a number of lucrative investments through his investment firm, Marcy Venture Partners. Jay-Z—whose real name is Shawn Carter—is heavily involved in the plant-based food space. He’s invested in countless vegan brands, including Impossible Foods; Los Angeles-based cashew cheese brand, Misha’s Kind Foods; Swedish oat milk brand, Oatly; and plant-based chicken brand, Simulate.
And one would be remiss not to mention Leonardo DiCaprio, the founding father of sustainable celebrity investments. The Academy Award-winning actor has invested in numerous sustainable startups, including lab-grown diamond company, Diamond Foundry; recycling technology company, Rubicon; and he was an early investor in electric car-maker, Fisker.
Celebrity investors are also tackling waste
DiCaprio’s organization, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation—which he founded in 1998 to support sustainable organizations and initiatives—is especially interested in the zero-waste sector.
According to Terry Tamminen, the foundation’s CEO, figuring out how to finance the transition to a zero-waste future is a major economic opportunity—one that the foundation supports.
“Investing in converting waste to valuable materials is of interest to investors because of climate change, tremendous pressure on natural ecosystems, better technology for conversion and the need to harvest more materials locally,” Tamminen explained.
Through his VC firm, Jay-Z also invested in British Columbia, Canada-based brand Pela, which makes compostable cell phone cases and phone grip stands.
They’re not the only celebrities backing the zero-waste industry. As environmental awareness increases, so too are investments in this field, helmed by the likes of Beyoncé, Ashton Kutcher, and Zooey Deschanel. Here are other celebrities using their influence to move the needle forward on sustainability.
Beyoncé has been drinking… watermelon. The Grammy Award-winning singer invested in WTRMLN WTR, a beverage company, back in 2016. The brand creates its cold-pressed juice from discarded watermelons the food industry considers too “ugly” to sell in stores.
Musician Pharrell is an investor in New York-based textile company Bionic Yarn, which creates fabrics out of recycled ocean plastic. The brand has collaborated with the likes of H&M, G-Star Raw, and Timberland.Credit: Human Race
The talk show host and her wife, actor Portia de Rossi, along with singer Shawn Mendes and snowboarder Shaun White, invested in Shelf Engine, which uses grocery order automation technology to deliver the correct amount of food to retailers.
Grow your own food at home with The Farmstand, by Lettuce Grow—co-founded by actor Zooey Deschanel. The self-watering and self-fertilizing hydroponic agriculture system is made with upcycled plastic and uses 95 percent less water than a traditional garden.Credit: Lettuce Grow
Looking to green your bathroom? Ashton Kutcher—along with Ciara, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mark Cuban—backed Cloud Paper, a tree-free toilet paper and paper towel company that makes its sustainable products from bamboo.
The Jane the Virgin actor co-founded sustainable lingerie brand Naja, which makes low-impact and vegan bras, underwear, and swimwear from recycled and upcycled materials, including plastic. Designs are also digitally printed with water soluble inks so that no wastewater is produced.Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images
Actor Nikki Reed co-founded ethical and sustainable jewelry brand Bayou With Love. The company uses recycled metals, including gold from e-waste, as well as lab-grown diamonds from Diamond Foundry.