Jay Z invested in Uber in 2011 and today its worth 200X more. Now hes getting serious about investing in startups with plans to create his own venture capital firm, according to respected tech journalist Dan Primacks publication Axios.

Jay Z is building the fund with long-time partner and Roc Nation co-founder Jay Brown. They plan to focus on seed investments in young startups. Theyll get some help from Sherpa Capital, which was created by some of Ubers other early investors. Jay Zs fund will have its own brand and Sherpas staff wont lead its investments, though,Axios reports.

Now Jay Z is looking for a full-time venture partner to help lead his fund, since he has other jobslike being one of the worlds most famous rappers. He also has stakes in the Rocawear clothing and several alcohol brands, plus owns the music streaming service Tidal.


The entertainment and business moguls success across industries and his celebrity could help him gain access to the most competitive and lucrative startup investment deals.

Heres a look at Jay Z and Roc Nations past investments and how theyve fared since:

  • Stance The Jays Roc Nation invested in premium sock company Stances 2011 Series A of $6 million. Its gone on to raise a total of $116 million from top Silicon Valley investors, signalling that its doing well.
  • Uber Jay Z invested in its 2011 Series B when it was valued at just $300 million pre-money. Now its believed to be valued at $62.5 billion, netting Beyonces husband a massive return
  • Viddy / Supernova Roc Nation invested in buzzy Instagram for video app Viddy in 2012 before Instagram became the Instagram for video. The startup failed, rebranded as Supernova, and was sold it what was likely a firesale to Fullscreen, so they Jays likely saw little to no return.
  • BlackJet Roc Nation backed private jet startup BlackJet in 2012 before the company crashed and burned alongside the Jays money.
  • JetSmarter Undeterred by BlackJets failure, Jay Z personally invested in JetSmarters 2014 $5.2 million Series A and 2016 $105 million Series C. This Uber for private planes startup is hoping people will pay huge upfront membership fees for free luxury flights later.
  • Devialet One of Roc Nations most recent investments was in high-end french speaker maker Devialet. Its too early to tell if its 2016 stake in the startups100M Series C will pan out, but Devialet speakers get rave reviews and are sold at Apple stores.

Overall Jay Z and Roc Nation have managed to pick some promising startups that have gone on to raise a ton more money. That makes him a successful VC on paper, but hell need some big IPOs or acquisitions to lock in his earnings.

The majority of venture capital gains come from a tiny set of startups that grow huge. If Jay Zs upcoming fund can leverage his branding expertise, promotional influence, and the desire of founders to buddy up with the star, it might be able to get a piece of these future blockbusters.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/21/jay-z-venture-capital/

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