Move beyond angel investors, businessmen, high net worth individuals (HNIs) and venture capitalists, who have been funding emerging startups since forever. Joining the bandwagon are the rich and famous celebrities who are no longer just endorsing brands and collecting fat pay cheques for it. They have jumped right into the nuts and bolts of business and making investments in the British startup ecosystem.
With the entrepreneurs excited to add the allure of the famous to their roster of investors, investments from some of the most famous celebs have been flowing into UK startups. We bring you the list of the rich, famous and talented stars who are nurturing this space.
Known for his bending free-kicks and as one of the highest-paid footballers, David Beckham has now taken a 10% stake in the London-based car restoration and electrification company, Lunaz.
The former England captain is building a repertoire of investments in startups related to e-sports, cannabis and now automobiles. Beckham has invested in Lunaz through his personal investment vehicle, DB Ventures. Beckham had earlier last year invested in London-based startup Guild Esports. The startup is looking at launching player academies and run teams in various e-sports arenas including Rocket League, EA Sports, FIFA and Fortnite.
Tennis superstar Andy Murray has transferred his golden touch into investing as well. The former world number one Wimbledon champion has invested in Edinburgh-based Game4Padel, which raised further £1.3 million to develop a UK-wide network of courts ast week.
The startup aims to establish padel tennis as a big sport in Britain. A cross between tennis and squash, padel tennis is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports. The game requires less physical effort than tennis, which has made it appealing to a wide range of age groups. Its enthusiasts include Rafael Nadal, David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.
Murray has also invested in Manchester-based charity tech startup GoodBox and ‘doctor on-demand’ platform ZoomDoc in 2021. As part of his ‘strategic relationship’ with equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, Murray-backed GoodBox, helps charities accept contactless donations via card-reading donation boxes. The Scot tennis number one backed ZoomDoc is an on-demand doctor service that allows users to instantly book a GP to arrive at their preferred location within one hour.
Murray currently has a stake in at least 30 startups representing his areas of interest such as sports, nutrition, dogs and wellbeing.
The 2016 Oscar winner for Best Actor is not just known for his gut-wrenching on-screen portrayals but his massive philanthropic efforts, too. Investing in literally everything from virtual reality to organic drinks to the environment, he has recently backed Hippeas, the London-based organic chickpea puff brand.
The British startup produces low-calorie, organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher and non-GMO, chickpea-based snacks and has partnered with Farm Africa – a charity on a mission to end hunger and bring wealth to rural Eastern Africa.
Saving the world by slaying the Night King, the 24-year old Maisie Williams has got eight seasons where she portrayed Arya Stark on the bestseller series Game of Thrones and two Emmy nominations to her credit.
But that’s not all. Williams has also backed UK-based Contact, a platform for creatives, that raised a $1.9 million seed led by Founders Fund last week. The recent deal is the latest in a string of raises in recent years that featured investments from deep-pocketed artists and actors.
The British actor has also co-founded Daisie, a platform for creative professionals to showcase their work and find collaborators. Only 11 days after the startup officially launched to the public, the app hit an early milestone of 100,000 members.
The 10-time Grammy winner Adele has invested in EVR Holdings. The startup’s MelodyVR app is a virtual reality music platform which allows fans to watch gigs on virtual reality headsets.
The vast library of 360-degree concerts, the platform attempts to provide experiences that will make you feel like you’re attending live music concerts. In recent months, the company has also experimented with live VR broadcasting.
The virtual reality music platform has raised $30 million in funding through UK-based parent EVR Holdings. The company has also signed deals to develop VR content with the music industry’s three biggest players: Warner, Universal, and Sony, which owns Adele’s American label, Columbia Records.
The much-loved English actor, activist, comedian and writer, Stephen Fry is extremely passionate about technology and all things digital. He remains heavily involved in the tech scene as both an investor and an innovation enthusiast.
He invested in iPhone app Summly in 2011. The news article summariser was sold for $30 million to Yahoo two years later. The other startups he has backed include Ticckle in 2013, an online video debate platform; and ‘Pinterest for education’ called Pindex, which Fry co-founded in 2016.