In the last several years, a growing number of celebrities have begun investing into tech startups. But few have humbled and immersed themselves into the industry like Chamillionaire, who rose to fame in the early 2000s as a rapper, but can now be spotted at investor parties and Y Combinator "demo days."
Next act: A self-described entrepreneur at heart, Chamillionaire recently debuted his mobile video chat app Convoz while he continues to invest in startups.
- While still working as a musician, he began advising companies like SayNow, which let celebrities directly interact with fans and sold to Google in 2011.
- He leads a syndicate of investors made up of influencers, celebrities, and athletes.
- His exits so far include Maker Studios (to Disney for a reported $675 million) and Cruise (to General Motors for close to $1 billion).
- His startup Convoz now has a total of seven employees, and has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Greycroft Ventures, Upfront Ventures, 500 Startups, Precursor VC, Okapi Ventures, XG Ventures, and a roster of angels including Justin Kan and Snoop Dogg.
- He's not made any investments in cryptocurrencies but says he believes in the potential of blockchain tech.
Axios spoke with Chamillionaire a few weeks ago, here are the highlights:
On his lifelong interest in tech:
On his introduction to the tech industry as he began advising some entertainment-related startups:
On ending up at Upfront Ventures in Los Angeles as an entrepreneur-in-residence:
On his biggest surprise so far:
On celebrities investing in tech startups:
The biggest lesson he's learned in tech so far: