Ashton Kutcher is a walking conflict of interest. He invests his acting fortune into startups like Uber and then promotes those companies without disclosing his financial ties. Now that Uber's culture of sleaze is making headlines across the country, Ashton's back out there defending Uber's exposed plans to discredit reporters who dare criticize Uber.
Yesterday evening, Ashton Kutcher tweeted out a photo of a "brain sensing headband" called Muse, telling his 16.3 million followers that he was: " Excited to learn from this incredible technology." Kutcher didn't mention that he's an investor, or why his name appears to be photoshopped onto the product.
Blackjet, the Uber for private jets backed by Jay-Z, Ashton Kutcher, Will Smith, and Shervin Pishevar, has laid off most of its employees after additional funding did not come through, reports Boston.com. Last month, we reported that Blackjet was "basically over" and "fucked" and it's hard to see how the company could recover from these revelations from a former employee.
Rap moguls and startups collide once again in this new commercial for Fancy, a Pinterest competitor. The ad, a low budget affair that shows Damon Dash introducing Fancy to Cam'ron as a way to sell $450 jerseys, debuted yesterday on WorldStarHipHop—an atypical launching pad for tech marketing—and has already been viewed almost 4 million times.
Of all the "Uber for __" propositions, the splashiest by far was Blackjet, the app that purports to help wealthy users book seats on private jets (for a $2,500 annual membership fee). When it launched last October, the company touted A-list Hollywood investors like Ashton Kutcher, Jay Z, and Will Smith, not to mention connections to successful—or successful-seeming—companies like Uber. But sources tell Valleywag that Blackjet is in a tailspin—out of cash, unable to raise funds, and "basically over." Another source said: "They are fucked."
Last week, Lenovo, a Chinese multinational corporation that sells personal computers and other electronic devices, hired actor-capitalist Ashton Kutcher as a "product engineer." Not a celebrity spokesperson, venture capitalist, or even the more laissez-faire "creative director" (à la Alicia Keys and BlackBerry, but a product engineer. Today, Fortune reports that Justin Bieber is the "lead investor" in a "new teen-focused social network" called Shots of Me.
Ashton Kutcher's panel at this year's TechCrunch Disrupt had at least one very interested party glued to the livestream. On stage, the actor-capitalist and his business partner Guy Oseary, Madonna's manager, confirmed rumors that they were seeking investments for their VC fund, A-Grade Investments, at a $100 million valuation—humblebragging they were raising "enough money."