Here’s Why Hollywood’s Biggest Names Are Creating Properties in the Fintech Companies of the Future

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As artists grow their audiences and demand higher fees, they begin to look for ways to channel their money creatively in a way that gives them more opportunities to maintain and grow their wealth. In an effort to diversify their income generation, some of Hollywood’s biggest names are getting into the business world as investors, business owners or entrepreneurs. They are also not picky about the types of businesses they engage in.

Jessica Alba started Honest Company in 2011 to make “clean” baby products, and the company has since expanded its product catalog. Kanye West, owner of clothing and sneaker brand Yeezy, was the highest-paid hip-hop artist of 2019, banking $150 million, most of which came from Yeezy. Jared Leto and Snoop Dogg are both invested in Reddit. Ashton Kutcher owns a venture capital firm with interests like Uber
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, Skype and Airbnb. Mark Wahlberg owns a restaurant chain called The Wahlburgers.

The list of celebrities building their financial portfolios outside of entertainment is endless, and it’s only going to get longer. As every business and industry becomes increasingly dependent on technology, one area that has caught the attention of investors is fintech. This union between financial services and information technology regularly kills cash transactions, as each company increasingly adopts Fintech solutions.

According to Eugene Johnson, founder of Revi, a restaurant-focused fintech Web3.0 solution, “A few decades ago, we were a monetary society. There was a time when people didn’t even trust digital payments. today, the trend has completely reversed on its head. Now having lots of cash is not only rare, but irrelevant. Businesses now have to support not only card transactions, but also new forms digital payment methods like Apple/Google Pay, biometric payments and, which we hope to introduce soon, paying with your identity and never having to take anything out of your pocket again. We are already seeing these alternative forms of payment in our Hollywood movies, it’s only a matter of time before these things become cultural norms.

Johnson believes the world of fintech is just getting started and is heading into another bold phase of payments evolution that is already beginning to see massive innovation by blockchain, AR and VR technology, a trend that everyone, including including the Hollywood elite, has noticed and is already capitalizing on it.

Fintech investments are heating up

There is a growing belief that this new wave of fintech will engulf all industries to the point where no business could exist without it. Following the growth of fintech over the past two decades, since the emergence of payment solutions like WorldPay and PayPal
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this certainly seems like a believable claim.

Fintech has evolved rapidly and today no relevant business can operate without leveraging one fintech solution or the other. Fintech has taken many forms; Credit cards, digital payment facilitators like Stripe and Square, money transfer solutions like XE and Wise, online banks like Revolut, P2P lending platforms like SoFi, cryptocurrency and blockchain, and digital assets like NFTs.

In 2019, the total value of fintech investments was $213.8 billion. It took a hit when the pandemic hit, falling to $124.9 billion. In 2021, it rebounded to $210 billion and is expected to reach $305 billion by 2025.

Johnson thinks one of the main reasons fintech attracts celebrity investors is trust. In his own words, “As payment platforms gained the trust that consumers and businesses originally had for cash transactions, they shifted to digital transactions with the advent of Web2.0.

“This version of the Internet made people more comfortable using their real information to create personal profiles online. This brought trust to online profiles and built an e-commerce infrastructure on top of it.

“Today, these personal profiles are beginning to extend to the physical environment. As it happens at scale, the growth of fintech will be explosive and no platform will be able to innovate without a fintech solution. Payments will become the gateway to all innovation. We are not yet at the peak of innovation. There are still so many creative solutions to be created for fintech. But even with the innovation we have in today’s world so far, fintech solutions can do more than financial transactions.”

Revi is a technology solution for restaurants that uses a digital and mobile in-store ordering system to streamline the ordering process, gather analytics, and reconnect with users post-purchase.

The technology analyzes customer data to deliver a personalized and helpful post-purchase experience and has so far processed over $30 million in transactions. The system is on track to process $30-40 million this year.

Fintech has come to stay, but Johnson is adamant that only fintech companies that prioritize consumer value will survive. “In today’s fintech space, brands need to differentiate to stand out. Fintech solutions need to be seamless, rewarding, personalized and connected for the consumer, not just the business.”

Celebrities invest more than their money in fintech

In the not-too-distant past, celebrities were known to focus their investments on clothing, alcohol, restaurants, sneakers, and other trend-following sectors. There was a feeling that these were sectors that were easier to understand and promote using their celebrity status, whether or not they had specialist knowledge.

With fintech, however, there is a feeling that more knowledge is needed to promote a financial solutions product. In fact, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Drake, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, and many other celebs just put the money in a new fintech, MoonPay.

A-list celebrities often have plenty of investment capital available, but investing in fintech is understandably not something they are known to invest in. That doesn’t mean, however, that there hasn’t been significant celebrity investment in fintech. In fact, in 2015, celebrity investments in technology and fintech had already reached $2 billion. However, when it comes to fintech involvement, beyond just injecting cash, the picture is less clear.

Think of the judges for AppleTV”Application Planet” To displaya shark tank sort of a spin-off. Along with seasoned entrepreneur and business commentator Gary Vaynerchuk, the rest of the judging panel includes Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Will.i.am, a roster made up of those who have made a name for themselves in the entertainment space.

On the program, app makers pitched their app ideas to a panel of judges, and if their idea was deemed worthy, they would have the chance to be mentored by the judges to secure funding for their business. The show not only allowed us to assess the entrepreneurial acumen of these celebrities, but also to see them mentor many fintech companies.

Whatever you think of celebrities taking on direct roles in fintech, that doesn’t change the fact that celebrity investing is here to stay. The lines between Hollywood and Silicon Valley are rapidly blurring and it doesn’t look like another trend.

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