Actor Ashton Kutcher made a name for himself starring in shows like “That ‘70s Show,” “Punk’d” and “Two and a Half Men” along with movies like “Dude, Where’s My Car?” and “Just Married.”
While still a major force in acting, Kutcher has also made a name for himself in the investing world, landing stakes in companies like Airbnb Inc ABNB, Uber Technologies UBER and Spotify Technology SPOT.
What Happened: Ashton Kutcher turned $30 million into $250 million by investing in companies he believed in and by using a set of guidelines to determine his investments.
“I don’t believe that old cliché that good things come to those who wait. I think good things come to those who want something so bad they can’t sit still,” Kutcher said.
Kutcher mowed yards, did roofing, and worked construction sites at a young age to save money.
The actor and entrepreneur was a college dropout, having studied biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa, but remains active in the science and technology spaces. Kutcher said he dropped out to pursue acting.
“I really think that technology has the greatest potential to accelerate happiness of most things in the world. The companies that will ultimately do well are the companies that chase happiness.”
Kutcher became a successful actor thanks to the breakout hit “That ‘70s Show.” Kutcher earned between $250,000 to $300,000 per episode by the end of the show’s run. Kutcher later replaced Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men,” where he earned $700,000 per episode.
The money earned from acting would be used by Kutcher to begin his career as an entrepreneur and investor.
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Kutcher’s Investments: One of Kutcher’s early investments was co-founding television and film company Katalyst Media. The company’s most successful show was “Punk’d,” a series that starred Kutcher and aired on MTV, a unit of Paramount Global Inc PARAPARAA.
Kutcher co-founded A-Grade Investments in 2010 with talent manager Guy Oseary and investor Ron Burkle. The company turned $30 million in investment funds into $250 million in six years.
Among the investments made by A-Grade Investments were Skype, Spotify ($3 million), Airbnb ($2.5 million), Uber ($500,000) and Foursquare.
Kutcher co-founded Sound Ventures in 2015 with Oseary. The venture capital firm invests mainly in fintech and technology companies in their early stages. Sound Ventures has invested in 63 companies and had 21 exits according to data from Crunchbase.
Outside of his partnered companies, Kutcher is also an investor in MoonPay and NFT marketplace OpenSea. Kutcher invested in a Series B funding round for OpenSea at a valuation of $1.5 billion, significantly lower than the $13 billion valuation the company commanded in July 2022.
Throughout his personal investments and work as a partner with other co-founders, Kutcher uses three main traits to identify target companies.
1. Founders he wants to work with
2. Business models that can gain from an investment from Kutcher and his partners
3. Companies that have a mission statement that can solve problems
Kutcher credits being a good listener and observer in his early days in Silicon Valley for gaining the knowledge of what to look for in potential investments.
Kutcher the Philanthropist: Along with making money on his investments, Kutcher has also become a major philanthropist.
“If you’re not doing good, what are you doing,” Kutcher said.
The actor and entrepreneur co-founded Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children in 2009. The organization works to end sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking.
Kutcher is raising money for Thorn by running the New York City Marathon in 2022, his first marathon race. Kutcher’s journey and work to get marathon ready is part of a new series in partnership with Peloton Interactive PTON.
“Entrepreneurship is about solving problems, not fame or money.”
Photo: Courtesy of TechCrunch on flickr
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