Ashton Kutcher wears many hats.
If you know him primarily from films and television including “Dude, Where’s My Car” or “That ’70s Show,” it may surprise you to hear that the 38-year-old actor has also become an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and successful venture capitalist in the tech space. He’s even appeared on “Shark Tank.”
Read on to see what else the successful former star of MTVs prank show “Punk’d” is up to — and what he’s doing with his millions.
Born in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1978 -- minutes ahead of his fraternal twin, Michael -- Kutcher comes from humble beginnings. His parents, Larry and Diane, were both factory workers and raised their three kids on a farm.
Kutcher started earning and saving from a young age. His odd jobs ranged from mowing lawns and roofing, to skinning deer at a meat locker and baling hay. 'When I was 13, I saved $1,400 for a snowmobile,' he tells Grow. 'I worked after school and on weekends for one and a half years, and put every cent into a savings account.'
Kutcher continued working a variety of jobs to pay his tuition at University of Iowa, where he enrolled in 1997 and planned to major in biochemical engineering. He dropped out and ended up going the modelling and acting route, but his interest in science and technology would resurface years later when he started investing in tech companies.
Kutcher landed his first acting gig in 1998, playing Michael Kelso on 'That '70s Show.' It put him on the map and led to roles in 'Guess Who,' 'A Lot Like Love,' and 'The Guardian.' More recently, he played Apple cofounder Steve Jobs in the 2013 film, 'Jobs.'
While most people know him for his comedic roles in films and sitcoms, Kutcher has been involved in business ventures since 2003, when he started his production company, Katalyst. In 2011, he cofounded venture capital firm A-Grade Investments, and in 2015, Sound Ventures. He was an angel investor before that.
He's built an impressive portfolio, investing in buzzy tech companies such as Skype, Spotify, Airbnb, Uber, and Foursquare. Kutcher hasn't disclosed the size of his investments, but in 2011, the New York Times estimated he'd invested anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 per property.
While his focus is on tech companies, Kutcher is open to exploring different investment avenues. When he appeared on 'Shark Tank' in 2015, he and Lori Greiner struck a deal: They agreed to split a $200,000 investment for 15% each of Beebo, a shoulder strap that holds a baby bottle for optimal bottle-feeding.
The actor-turned-investor also makes time for philanthropy. In 2009, he cofounded a human rights organisation, Thorn, which aims to use technology to fight child sexual exploitation. Kutcher's work outside of acting and investing contributed to him being named one of TIME magazine's '100 Most Influential People' in 2010.
He's also quietly built a media empire, A+, which started publishing articles in April 2014 and officially launched at the end of January 2015. In a little over a year, it became one of the top 50 most popular websites in the United States.
Kutcher's first major purchase -- his first home -- was just as daunting for the star as it is for anyone else. In fact, he called it the scariest financial decision he's ever made: 'I was scared because I took on debt greater than my cash on hand. I don't sleep well when I owe people money. I believe freedom is a product of flexibility of choice, and debt leaves you beholden to practical choices.'
In 2012, he bought a Hollywood Hills Mansion he'd been renting for $50,000 a month. He paid $3.64 million for the 5-bedroom home, a modern beauty made of glass and steel boxes, complete with an infinity pool.
Today, he and his wife, actress Mila Kunis, live in a gated community in Beverly Hills. They bought their 7,350-square-foot property for $10 million in 2014 and welcomed their first child, Wyatt, into the home later that year.
He's also invested in his mum's home. In 2015, as a surprise thank you gift, Kutcher remodeled her home in Homestead -- the same one he and his step-dad built in the early 1990s. He facilitated the remodel from Beverly Hills using technology from Houzz, an online design site he's invested in.
When Kutcher's not building his portfolio, chances are, he's at a ball game. Kutcher and Kunis, both big sports fans, have been spotted in floor seats at Lakers games, in Dodger Stadium, and supporting the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Kutcher has become a skilled investor, but his best investment is something anyone can afford, he tells Grow: 'My relationships -- taking the time to get to know (people), what motivates them, what their challenges are. These things are often overlooked. Investors get so wrapped up in returns and numbers that they forget that the true privilege of their position is to share a journey with exceptional people.'
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