7 Celebrity Backed Startups We Love
Once upon a time, celebrities were just beautiful people who walked red carpets, starred in movies, and lived in mansions in Malibu. Well something about that lifestyle must have gotten boring, because celebrities have started finding unique ways to spice things up. And no - we don’t mean elaborate cheating scandals, (someone didn't give Kristen Stewart the memo), we're referring to the fact that celebrities have taken a sudden interest in startups. Specifically, investing in them.
Ashton Kutcher led the way and in true Hollywood fashion - many a celebrity followed. The result? A Californian tidal wave of startups of various design, taking over the coastline.
Here are a few of our favourites.
“Your personal stylist”
Web-based subscriptions are all the rage. So is Kim Kardashian - whether you love her or hate her. So it should come as no surprise that Kim launching a startup offering a web-based subscription to shoes, purses, and jewelry, appropriately named ShoeDazzle, would become a hit. Subscribers pay a monthly fee, which we have to agree is quite reasonable at $39.95 (includes free shipping) and they are delivered a pair of shoes selected by Hollywood stylists once a month. The company also just launched a new signature collection which will offer sexy and sophisticated clothing options as well.
“Experience the World”
Andy Samberg, best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, invested in his first startup, CanaryHop, in March 2012. A marketplace for activities, tours, lessons, and experiences. According to the website, CanaryHop aims to connect people looking for new activities with locals all over the globe who can help out with the request. While the explainer vid on the site still leaves us confused and shaking our heads, we’ve bookmarked the site in case we ever need help charming a snake - take that as you will. As huge fans of the Lonely Island Brothers - we can’t help but wonder if Andy and his nautical themed pashmina afghan might consider taking us for an afternoon cruise to help us navigate through their offering.
“Better Flight Search and Hotel Booking”
It’s not surprising that Ashton Kutcher snagged the role of a young Steve Jobs in the low-budget indie bio pic “Jobs” - currently in production. The actor has been spending far more time lately investing in tech startups and founding his own than being behind the camera. Among the startups he’s invested in, Foursquare, Soundcloud and Path, his latest startup investment, Hipmunk is offering flight and hotel bookings in a simpler and neater way than most services like it. It also includes Airbnb in the options - shameless plug for Kutcher’s other investment? We tried it out and while it still sent out us to a third party site to do the actual booking, the timeline feature of search results was much cleaner than its counterparts on the market and definitely saved us time. Which is probably useful for Ashton - balancing all those startups and all.
“See the world through other people’s eyes”
Mobli, whose celebrity investors include Leonardo DiCaprio and Lance Armstrong, is a photo and video sharing app aimed at allowing users to share media over social networks. The founder, Moshe Hogeg’s goal was to build a visual search engine that could show its users “everything worth seeing in the world.” If you’re thinking, this sounds an awful lot like Instagram - you aren’t far off nor are your favorite filters. Users upload photos, filter as they desire before photos are tagged based on their subject matter and then viewed by others outside of your own network. The company even uses facial recognition software to “give users eyes everywhere.” Creepy? Or awesome?
So while us five gals working at Onboardly are usually busy creating serious content and launching killer startups, we also enjoy awww’ing over kittens and catching up on our celebrity gossip. We trust no one more than founder Zoey Deschanel and her team of writers at Hello Giggles who deliver not only tasteful celebrity news but provide us with girly posts that remind us our obsession with Ryan Gosling is normal and that there really are dozens of hashtags to describe Magic Mike - except they’re missing our favorite, #poundhustle. It sounds like a move Channing Tatum could perform, no? So if you haven’t already experienced this girl-centered startup - well, we recommend going there now. As soon as you’ve finished reading our post of course.
Launched on Thursday July 12th, Teeology offers designer t-shirts that will be manufactured based on votes by members of the website. Simple really. Like a t-shirt, vote in favor, it gets made. Their website describes it as “ a new kind of retail experience: one that exists 100% online and cuts out all the middlemen to create limited-edition luxury fashion at an irresistible price.” The team of three curators, including JLo, offer “creative guidance” to the designers and ultimately put the fate of t-shirt designs in member’s hands. Voting? Creative guidance? Audience decides the fate of the tees? We can’t help but wonder if this is just American Idol with t-shirts.
Postcard on the Run
Similar to Postagram, Postcard on the Run allows users to take photos off their smartphone and quickly (we’re assuming if it’s “on the run” ) turn them into postcards. For a dollar, users provide address and deets - the company handles the rest. First time startup investor, Selena Gomez aka Justin Bieber’s squeeze, has become the face of the company. It should come as no surprise Selena is dipping her cutesy pedicured toes in the startup pool - her boyfriend Justin Bieber recently invested in Stamped, a social app that allows iphone users to share things in the real world with friends. Just not Selena. She’s his for now.