New #DominateFund Invests Celebrity Cash in Tech Startups
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Posted by: Len Lanzi
By Alexander C. Kaufman
The new fund, called #DominateFund, is positioning itself as the
middleman between infant companies and star investors, taking
angel-sized positions from $25,000 to $250,000 in Silicon Valley
The fund, which has not yet officially launched, is being run by Ben
Parr, a former editor at Mashable, and Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni,
co-founders of the digital-music marketing company Tracks.by.
They already have gotten some deep-pocketed executives to invest, an
individual with knowledge of the company told TheWrap. Bryant, the
manager of Lil Wayne and Drake, Britney Spears' manager Adam Leber and
Salazar are among the fund's early investors.
The person said #DominateFund has so far invested in eight companies.
"Celebrities are only a minor component," the person told TheWrap. "It's about great companies first."
Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake are savvy
investors in Silicon Valley's wellspring of nascent companies -- Kutcher
sits on the advisory board to Vox Media and four other companies;
Timberlake invested in Miso Media. But with #DominateFund, investors can
dip into the trio's list of tech-industry contacts.
Startups, in turn, can access money and collect celebrity
endorsements that build their early brands. And Parr, a former publicity
executive, makes the fund more attractive as tech companies try to
access larger audiences for their services.
One of the companies they've invested in is Virool, a YouTube company that helps firms create targeted advertising on videos.
"The reason we decided to take them on as investors, besides their
relationships with a lot of celebrities, is that Ben’s a great guy from a
PR standpoint," Alex Debelov, the CEO of Virool, told Forbes.
At Tracks.by,Schlicht and Kazerooni handled social media for musicians, thus connecting with industry executives.
The company declined to comment for this story.