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Photo: RNewsfoto/Triller

Josh Richards is joining Remus Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, as a Venture Partner, Axios has learned.

The backdrop: Richards, 18, has more than 22 million followers on TikTok and is an angel investor and chief strategy officer at Triller. Remus invests in startups that cater to Gen-Z, like boutique fitness app ClassPass.

Why it matters: So much of being a good early-stage investor is about having a unique network to find hot companies early — so it’s no surprise a VC firm sees value in an influencer like Richards, who, along with his TikTok following, has already ventured into podcasts and is working for Triller. 

  • Equally unsurprising is that young TikTok stars like Richards want to use their fortunes to become professional tech investors.
  • They’ve grown up with smartphones and have been exposed to the culture of investing through collaborations with even bigger stars and celebrities.
  • They live in Los Angeles, which has a local tech industry of its own right (not to mention tech role models like Snap’s Evan Speigel).

Details: Richards rose to fame this year alongside several other young, male creators as members of the "Sway House," one of the prominent TikTok creator collaboratives, headquartered in a mansion in Bel Air.

  • Richards and fellow "Sway House" TikTok stars Bryce Hall and Griffin Johnson have already used some of their TikTok earnings to invest in a few early stage media and tech startups.
  • Richards left the Sway House earlier this year to focus on investing and other projects. He will still serve as CSO of Triller, the rival TikTok app.

The big picture: Financial advice on TikTok is a growing theme, for better or worse. Young TikTok users, bored at home during the pandemic, have taken to trading apps like Robinhood this year for retail trading, sometimes getting themselves into financial trouble.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

GameStop stock continues to defy gravity

Expand chart
Source: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Shares in GameStop surged as high as $76.73 on Friday in what has been described as an "epic short squeeze."

Why it matters: The GameStop fight, with Redditors and TikTok influencers on the long side and investment professionals like Citron Research's Andrew Left on the short side, has turned ugly in recent days. But for the time being, the amateur investors are winning.

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

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