Investment advice and lessons from entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher
If the name of the famous Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher still brings to mind your roles in comedy and romantic films such as Just Married, Valentine's Day, The Butterfly Effect, and Dude, Where's My Car, and if you know him primarily from movies and TV only, You are absolutely out of time.
Ashton Kutcher is known by most people as an actor, but he also has been a hit off the screen. The side you may not know about the forty-year-old actor is also an entrepreneur and a risk investor, especially in technology, social media, and modern media, and was previously an engineer for Lenovo products.
He appeared on ABC's Shark Tank and made some lucrative investments in several tech companies, including Spotify, Airbnb, Foursquare, Fab, Uber, Dwolla, Path, and Meerkat. He's also one of the founders of Katalyst, a media company that creates original content for digital media, television, and cinema.
In the past few years, a major shift in his career has occurred in a direction entirely different from the direction of acting. Apparently, the famous biographical movie Jobs, in which it personified the personality of Steve Jobs Apple founder in 2013, has made a huge impact on him, transforming him into an actor as an entrepreneur, with his focus on technology.
He was born in 1978 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, minutes before his twin, Michael. Kutcher comes from very humble beginnings; his parents, Larry and Diane, were working in a factory and raising their three children on a farm.
Kutcher started earning and saving money from a young age. Its strange functions included cutting and polishing grass and ceilings, as well as picking up deer at a butcher shop and selling meat and hay packages. When he was 13 years old, he saved $ 1,400. He worked after school and on the weekends for a year and a half, and put all his money into the savings account.
Kutcher continued working in a variety of modest jobs to pay his tuition at the University of Iowa, where he joined in 1997 and planned to major in biochemical engineering, but he withdrew and did not complete his studies with it, and he ended up in the way of fashion shows and acting, but his interest in science and technology came back Appear after years when he began investing in technology companies.
Read on to find out what the 40-year-old actor has accomplished in the business world and startups, what he is doing with his millions, and how he can earn it from participating in starting a business.
Turn the track
While most people know him about his comedic roles in movies and series, Kutcher has been involved in business ventures since 2003 when he started his production company Katalyst.
In 2011, Kutcher co-founded A-Grade Investments. In the same year, Kutcher was chosen from Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential personalities. Then his company, Katalyst, was chosen as one of the top 50 innovative companies among the most creative creators by Ad Age, and as one of the best creators by Fast Company.
Kutcher did not disclose the size of his investment, but in the same year 2011, the New York Times estimated that he had invested $ 50,000 to $ 100,000 for each premium deal.
In 2013 - the same year, he embodied a Jobs movie - Kutcher joined Lenovo as a product engineer, helping create the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro. In the past, he also served on management and innovation teams in a number of startups and media companies such as Ooma and Katalyst Media.
He was followed by Sound Ventures in 2015. He was an angel investor before that, which made Kutcher in March 2016 appear on the cover of Forbes with an article on all his investments, becoming the most read article in the magazine's history.
He built an impressive portfolio and invested in technology companies such as Skype, Spotify, Airbnb, Uber, and Foursquare. While his focus is on technology companies, Kutcher is open to exploring different investment paths.
When Kutcher appeared on the Shark Tank in 2015, he and Laurie Greener signed a business deal with Beebo, a shoulder/carrier strap containing the infant formula bottle for perfectly fed infants, after they agreed to split a $ 200,000 investment of 15%.
This is in addition to his participation in charity work. In 2009, he established a human rights organization, which aims to use technology to combat the sexual exploitation of children. In 2010, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential People, according to The Times.
He also quietly built a media empire, called A Plus, which started publishing articles in April 2014 and was officially launched at the end of January 2015. And in just over a year, A Plus has become one of the 50 most popular locations in the United States.
According to Kutcher, it can accumulate almost incrementally starting from operation as follows: (verification in the early stages, have the idea, then get out of the dilemma of the applicable basic active product model MVP / Minimum Viable Product, and get it to suit potential customers, Create a discussion panel and receive feedback, ensure that customers value the product, create a feedback loop for customer/product development so that the customer can improve the product, create the company, hire and rent to fill initial capabilities, search for product-market fit, and define the product market to reach all targeted consumers, Build teams, and get more money).
Some tips for investing in startups offered by Ashton Kutcher:
1- The best investments don't cost a fortune
In Grow magazine when asked what he considered to be the best investment he ever made, which is not a technology company, Kutcher said:
"My relationship .. taking the time to get to know people, what motivates them, what their challenges are. Investing is not about numbers; these things are often overlooked. As investors run out of returns and numbers, and they completely forget that the real advantage of their position is sharing a trip with exceptional people. As you learn more about people and their beliefs, you can develop a better sense of the company's potential. The best investments should not cost a fortune. Investing in relationships can cost less than a few cups of coffee and a handful of emails.
On choosing to invest in startups, whether as a stage, as revenue metrics or as a business, Kutcher himself wrote an article commenting on the matter, saying:
"I don't proactively fund at various stages. I proactively fund prominent people trying to solve difficult problems, focusing on this simple goal of identifying and empowering amazing businessmen to create a better tomorrow is the core of my investment strategy."
2- Listen to the people of experience and trust them
Although Foursquare is one of Kutcher's first investments in major technology companies and put his name on the map as an investor, in 2009, Kutcher received advice from Marc Andreessen, a major tech investor in Silicon Valley, to invest in Skype. This was a good tip because, in 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for $ 8.6 billion, and the investment in Kutcher was tripled.
He says about that:
"As a founder and entrepreneur, I think it is very important to surround yourself with the people of experience, who have seen it before, understand it, know what is best for it, and know-how to persevere through it."
3- Invest in the things you know
In 2013, Kutcher invested in YPlan, the last-minute ticket app, which allows spontaneous people to buy last minute tickets for the most important events in London on the same event day. He had the idea of investing in him when he was in London, and he wanted to plan a last-minute appointment with his girlfriend.
Kutcher said in an interview with Chelsea Handler:
"Invest in the things you know. If you drink beer all the time, you go to the small breweries, and you try all kinds of, you will probably know which is better."
4- Repel happiness in your investments
Weighs investments in two directions, yield, and happiness. The first point that Kutcher takes into account when coming in any direction is: Will capital have realized returns of 6 to 10 times over five, eight, and ten years? If not, then it is in Kutcher's opinion, not worth the time and money.
But he is not the only factor he has. If he is happy to do the work he is doing on behalf of this company, and he is fully confident that the desired return can be achieved, then it is worth the investment.
Kutcher may not have many companies that yield 100 times the return, but he has companies that earn 5 or 6 times the yield and has solved an important problem. By measuring both the financial return on investment and the happiness of being part of this journey, Kutcher can comprehensively measure the net result.
In 2011, when Airbnb had only 60,000 cards on its site, Kutcher invested in it. Today, Airbnb boasts more than 640,000 hosts. In the same year, Kutcher resorted to using the Airbnb service after breaking up with actress Demi Moore. On his first night, his host left him dinner and a glass of wine. He later said about it:
"It was the magic and love I needed at that moment. I was shocked that someone would be very interested in a stranger."
So during a difficult time, the company helped Kutcher transform his mentality. In a 2013 interview, Kutcher told the Telegraph:
"The companies that will do well, in the end, are the ones that chase happiness. If you find a way to help people find love, health, or friendship, then the dollar will definitely chase you."
5- Think about what you want in the future
In the early days of Uber, Kutcher saw it as a company that would change the way people view transportation. Instead of owning cars in the future, they would welcome Uber.
In 2011, with his business partner, Guy Oseary, Kutcher invested $ 500,000 in Uber. Today, the investment is 100 times that.
Kutcher said in an interview with Grow:
"Invest in what you really want to see."
6- Look for solutions
Many investment funds are trying to improve returns. It manages relatively complex economic models to determine what the desired value will be for it at the end of the investment cycle for each particular company, but Kutcher does not. He only tries to fund the best and brightest, as he loves to work with the smartest and brightest people in the world to tackle some of the toughest challenges and find solutions to them.
There is a reason why companies like Spotify and Airbnb are succeeding, and Kutcher outlined in an interview with Maria Bartiromo for CNBC:
"You must have the know-how and the boldness to actually put and mesh the pieces together, and build the solution in a truly effective way."
Kutcher invested in Spotify because it was one of the first companies to offer a legal alternative to buying music online.
7- Know what you do not know
It's very easy to get yourself out of a really cool group of companies by having mathematical and mathematical barriers that don't necessarily endure over time.
At the time of investing, it may be difficult to anticipate future products that will eventually become the biggest driver of revenue.
If you had an idea of prior knowledge of how much value they were returning to customers (communication), and it was big enough in the end, and they would find a way to monetize through it, you would have immediately invested in Facebook. But if you are working towards a purely mathematical model, you may not be able to do so.
On this, Kutcher said:
"I remember sitting with one of my mentors for about eight years. He listed ten companies on a whiteboard in front of me, and he arranged for me from top to bottom which companies they think are most valuable. Now arrange me from top to bottom, which companies have the most return. I had a mix of those companies, whether I thought they were up or down the list on both sides, to show that the company with the least amount of revenue was the most valuable, while the company that had the most revenue was the least valuable."
And Kutcher's passion for technology has certainly helped him a lot. In 1997, Kutcher enrolled at Lowa University, and was planning to major in biochemical engineering, until he won a fashion show contest, he left school and went into the field of the fashion show and then acting. But his interest in science and technology overcame him, and he returned years later when he started investing in technology companies to become an entrepreneur.