From Punk’d To The $200M Man: Ashton Kutcher’s Fast Rise To Silicon Valley Mogul
Ashton Kutcher’s lived many roles, from dim-witted Michael Kelso in That’s 70’s Show to the genius billionaire Walden Schmidt in Two And a Half Men. What might surprise many is his eye for promising startups.
Kutcher has founded a successful venture capitalist firm (which turned $30M to a whopping $250M in under six years) and is an active investor in the tech space.
Ashton Kutcher founded A-Grade Investments in 2010 with long-time friends Ron Burkle and Guy Oseary.
The VC firm has invested a little under a million in Uber to date, an investment that’s now churning 100x its value. In 2011, A-Grade invested $2.5M in Airbnb and the investment is valued at close to $100M.
Uber and Airbnb are not one-off lucky investments—A-Grade’s portfolio includes several blockbuster start-ups such as Spotify, Skype, Pinterest, and Shazam.
Silicon Valley stalwart Marc Andreessen believes a VC is one of the best if it can generate 3x returns and considers 5x return a home-run. An 8x return, like the portfolio that turned $30M to $250M, is mighty impressive.
In 2009, Andreessen invited Kutcher to invest $1M in Skype. A little after two years, Skype was acquired by Microsoft [MSFT] and Kutcher raked in a cool $4M. He quadrupled his investment when the world was still reeling under one of the worst recessions in history.
A-Grade invested in companies that have appealing founders, a problem-solving mission statement and a solid business model.
Not all you touch will turn to gold
However, investing in tech is not easy. The disruptive nature of this industry had made seasoned investors like Warren Buffett wary of the same. Similar to other VC’s, A-Grade also had its share of investment failures.
In fact, while investing in start-ups it is normal to experience more failure than success. In 2011, Kutcher’s VC invested in online fashion start-up Fab.com and saw its valuation soar to $1B and then come crashing down to $15M.
Kutcher was also the creative director (in addition to funding) of Ooma which was an unsuccessful web-based phone service. However, A-Grade has managed to offset these investment with a slew of successful ones.
Much more than just a celebrity investor
Kutcher is not a celebrity investor who takes on equity in exchange for endorsements. He is in for the real deal. Funding in tech is more miss than hit and Kutcher invests in products that he believes in.
He extensively uses Uber for travel. Kutcher stayed in Airbnb’s (before investing in the firm) to be absolutely sure if staying in a stranger’s house is as comfortable as a hotel or your own home. He then rented out Airbnb’s for a year after his divorce with Demi Moore.
He passed on investing in Snapchat twice as Kutcher confessed that he did not get it. Though Snapchat went on to become a publicly listed company, Kutcher remains unconcerned and knows that he will pass on many such investments that will go on to be successful.
Leveraged social media influence
Ashton Kutcher knows the power of social media. He was, in fact, an early adopter and the first one to have a million followers on Twitter [TWTR] way back in 2009.
While being actively involved with start-ups, Kutcher managed to use his influence on social media to voice his support for Uber when New York City’s Mayor Bill De Blasio tried to restrict Uber’s growth via regulations.
In 2015, Liberty Media pumped in $100M and appointed Kutcher and Oseary to run this investment vehicle looking at their impressive returns. That year, Kutcher and Guy Oseary founded another VC fund Sound Ventures targeting investments in the tech space.
Sound Ventures have made 53 investments to date and has led six rounds of funding. Its latest investment was in the electric scooter start-up Bird that has already raised up to $300M.
Sound Ventures’ hit the bulls-eye with investments in Neighborly, Gusto and Robinhood. Sound Ventures has also invested in b8ta, Cedar, Calm and Modern Fertility in the last four months.
In June, the VC announced that it is looking to raise a second fund of $150M, to up their investment ante. A successful run here will most likely propel them into the billion dollar league.
Kutcher was paid $20M for starring in the final season of Two and a Half Men. We can see that venture funding is not his second stream of income. He is passionate about tech and believes it can make a huge difference. He is in fact, all-in.
How Big Real Estate Moguls Avoid Taxes (And How You Can, Too) 👀
I was looking around Google for an old article on tax strategies and this five-year old video of myself happened to pop up.
I’m interviewing a tax expert about how real estate investors avoid paying taxes in perpetuity—AND how everyday citizens can do the same thing.
(Real estate—our TEMPLE I and TEMPLE II projects included—has a number of tax benefits savvy investors have capitalized on for years, including Opportunity Zone breaks and 10-year tax abatements.)
There’s the 1031 exchange, of course, which I’ve shared with you guys before.
Just to refresh your memory, the 1031 Exchange allows you to roll over gains from your last project into a new property TAX FREE—as long as said property is worth the same or more.
But there’s ANOTHER TAX LOOPHOLE that can take your portfolio to an entirely new level by splitting your capital gains into MULTIPLE properties.
So I thought I’d share it with you guys. 💎
You can check it out here.
Let me know what you think. 😎
PS: In our next update, I’m going to break down how real estate moguls get paid from their properties…tax free. 👀
PPS: If you want to learn how to implement generational wealth strategies like this one, you can join our NYCE wealth academy (TRIBE U) here.
How I run a $300M+ business from the beach…(and how you can TOO!)
Yes, you read that right.
If there’s anything the pandemic taught us, it’s that the paradigm of “office” and “workspace” has been shaken to its CORE.
Universities are teaching via Zoom, court dates are done virtually, FULLY REMOTE businesses are valued at $1B+, and legitimate Inc. 5000 startups are run from…wherever. 📲
This is my office for the day…
I am actually running our business from the beach, typing this from here.
It’s 4:28 pm CET, which means it’s 10:28 am EST and I am CRUSHING my to-do list.
(And the team will continue to crush it while I’m asleep. That’s the 🗝)
So how did we get here?
We launched NYCE and our mission to create 100,000 millionaires in March, 2020…just as the global COVID-19 lockdown happened. 😳
As a result, we shut down our main office and set EVERYTHING up to run remotely…
SMOOTHLY! And a system that allows us to outperform competition by 200%. (You can build this system, too. More on this in a second.)
Here’s what we were able to do since then:
- Gained 6M+ followers across all platforms 📈
- Add 1500+ new apartments to the portfolio 🤑
- Grow to $300M in real estate 🚀
- 105% investor returns 🎉
- 700K+ community members 🤝
And here’s the best part…
Having team members in all the main time zones gives us a 24-hour work cycle vs. 9-5/eight-hour on-the-clock performance.
This means we get 3x the productivity of a similar company. 🔥
Let me repeat that…3x PRODUCTIVITY vs. our competitors.
Meanwhile our project management software grants us 24-hour TEAM-WIDE connectivity that tracks all tasks and lets us know if productivity dips even a little bit.
There is ALWAYS someone senior awake. It could be Martin in Barcelona…Nat in New York…Vineet & Arif in New Delhi.
All the while giving YOU GUYS wealth hacks and daily content. 🔥
OK, so how can you do it?!
Well, the first step is to have an actual side hustle you’re launching. Not just an idea, a validated business.
MAJOR KEY: Do NOT spend money until you’ve made your FIRST DOLLAR! 🗝🗝🗝🗝
(You can catch a replay Business Launch masterclass here and see TRIBE member Nessa launched her business on the spot and got her first $45K client shortly after.)
One of the easiest ways to start is with Airbnb—you can start that in 10 minutes. Literally. (Here’s a guide if you need it.)
Once you have your business, you build a virtual infrastructure (you really just need two softwares, which are FREE), manage the team accordingly and run the business from there.
I’m gonna put together a step-by-step video breakdown this weekend inside the new TRIBE U on the FIVE key things you need to do this for YOURSELF. 💵 💎
From what software to use, how to build a team, how to keep.
In the meantime, drop a comment if you’re ready to build some wealth and any questions if you want more…
Let’s get to work. 🙌
PS: If you can’t be bothered with video and just wanna get to work, we’re hosting a TRIBE U workshop that will help you get this process started on the spot. It’s $479 $49. 🔥
EXCLUSIVE Q&A: This 26-Year Old Made $100K From Her IG In 90 Days. Here’s How She Did It 👀
Yes, it’s a pandemic. Yes, the economy is down. Yet, some entrepreneurs have found opportunity in the “new normal” (whatever that means).
In the public markets, FAANGs are booming: Amazon and Netflix are up dramatically, fueled by the need for home entertainment…and shopping.
One of them is Ariel Adams, a 26-year-old South Virginia-based realtor. In April, at the height of the lockdown, she had exactly 1000 followers on Instagram.
Fast forward to today, she’s attracted over 100K followers, has made $100K in online sales (again, during the pandemic), and is now showing others how to do the same.
We sat down with Ariel to discuss how she made $100K in 90 days, what she sold, how she got her first customer, and how you can, too.
Let’s get right to it. You work in real estate but were able to make $100,000 from your IG in three months. Let’s start with the product. What did you sell?
Yes, that’s correct. I was shocked myself! My sales came from my digital products, mainly my e-book From Instagram to Instant Money. My e-book dives into how you can optimize your Instagram profile to grow a following and sell your own product. I talk to the Instagram algorithm and how to beat it to ultimately monetize the platform. My other digital product is my course How to $ave Like the Wealthy. As a realtor, I would receive a lot of questions in regards to saving up for a down payment on a home. I decided to create a video outlining the best way to save money and accumulate wealth. Both of those products got me to six figures!
How did you secure your first orders? Who were your buyers?
My sales came from my following. I would collaborate with other brands with significant followings and post my product on their page. This drew in a lot of traffic to my products and also pushed me to 100k followers on Instagram. My buyers were typically people looking to earn passive income by selling a product or service through Instagram.
Was the objective of your advertising to gain followers and sell later? Or did that just happen as a byproduct of people buying your courses?
I never was trying to gain followers, I was always trying to sell. I think people would see my ad, go to my page, and then turn into a follower because I always provide valuable content on my page. My Instagram consists of personal finance infographics, real estate tips, and inspirational quotes. I think people naturally gravitated toward that and I was able to retain and gain followers.
How do you consistently market it? Is this a model anyone can use?
I try to set up placements on these bigger Instagram pages 2-3 times a week. I aim for business pages, women-owned business pages, and black business pages. My product resonates well with entrepreneurs looking to scale their business through IG. It is absolutely a model anyone can use. I recommend following the other steps I speak to in my e-book. This will ensure the most success.
Most aren’t aware that partnerships can literally boost your business. How did you come up with the idea of collaboration and what made you target those pages exactly?
Being savvy to Instagram, I was always aware of Influencer Marketing. A lot of people think that’s just girls posting brands to their million or so followers, but it includes placements with ANY brand that has a substantial following. I knew this was a key to success. Collaboration on bigger platforms would be the most helpful for my brand. I targeted people I thought would be interested in my product; women CEOs, entrepreneurs, e-commerce enthusiasts, etc. I made sure to stay within that niche.
How did you come up with this idea?
I was inspired by other online entrepreneurs. I saw them making thousands online and I thought to myself, “Hey, I can do that.” So I decided to do it. I asked myself, “What am I skilled in? What can I teach people?” From my previous life managing artists in the music industry, I became an expert in Instagram. Combining what I studied at the University of Miami (Business) and my knowledge of Instagram, that’s what sparked my e-book on the subject.
What’s the number one advice you’d give someone who’s looking to make money for themselves but isn’t sure where to start?
My advice would be to write down what it is you’re good at. Brainstorm what skills you have. Maybe you have a passion for food? Good, create and sell a cookbook. Maybe you’re good at writing? You can become a freelance resume writer. We all have skills we can capitalize on. And if you need to learn how to market yourself, then Google is your best friend. Read, read, read. Self-educate and you will be on your way, and of course download my e-book to learn how to sell through Instagram!
How to Invest In Real Estate Through Your IRA
How Big Real Estate Moguls Avoid Taxes (And How You Can, Too) 👀
How I run a $300M+ business from the beach…(and how you can TOO!)
How To Launch Your Business In 30 Days Or Less
EXCLUSIVE: This Entrepreneur Built A $7B Business Without Outside Funding. Here’s How He Did It
How Mark Cuban Invested $640k In A Company That Started…As A Prank
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