A new private equity fund hopes that talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, former NBA player Kenny “The Jet” Smith, and New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist can boost the returns on its investments.
The two knew each other from a previous business relationship and started discussing a new type of private equity fund that would benefit both the investors and athletes and artists.
The strategy works like this: the fund invests in already profitable companies in technology, consumer products and services, specialty finance, health and wellness, media and entertainment and hospitality.
Then, celebrities perform marketing services for the consumer-facing companies. This would include things like posting videos, social media marketing, or making appearances and endorsements. Those marketing efforts are then rewarded with equity in the companies they are helping advertise.
“[There’s a] menu to choose from to earn their stake in the firm,” Tysdal told Business Insider.
Right now, the fund features six celebrity influencers: Jimmy Kimmel, singer/songwriter Adam Levine, former NFL player Eric Decker, country-music star Jessie James Decker, NHL star Henrik Lundqvist, and Kenny Smith. More celebrity influencers will be announced in the future, Tysdal said.
Kimmel, who is featured prominently on TitleCard’s homepage, was a natural fit because he’s someone who has “great ideas,” according to Tysdal.
Tysdal first met Kimmel at his house thanks to an introduction from an attorney friend of his.
“I’m sitting there. [Jimmy Kimmel] goes around the corner and I’m thinking: ‘Oh boy. Here comes a prank video from Jimmy Kimmel. I’m on Jimmy Kimmel Live!‘ And he comes out and starts bringing out one product at a time. He says: ‘I love this company and this company and this company. I give them away to celebrities on my show in the greenroom in a swag bag …. Are these the kind of companies?'”
Tysdal said that they did the research and realised they are exactly the kinds of companies TitleCard would invest in.
“He has great ideas and he’s super engaged.”
What’s more, the celebs aren’t obligated to endorse any portfolio holding. They’re even permitted to do endorsement deals outside of the fund.
TitleCard made its first investment last month, putting $US9 million in to a profitable online, direct-ship mattress company called Leesa based in Virginia Beach.
Leesa’s CEO David Wolfe said that the potential to access the celebrity influencers made TitleCard an appealing investor.
“The whole access thing is really what it is,” Wolfe said.
“There’s no guarantee that any one of [the celebrities] would endorse our product, but there was no way I could even contemplate getting any of them to try it [before] …. So to me, it’s getting a chance for people to try our mattress and if they love it, then they have a mechanism where they can endorse it and benefit from that.”