Who would have thought? A little black boy growing up in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects in the ’70s was able to acquire a net worth over $810 Million in 2017, according to Forbes. Who would have thought, right?
There had to come a point in Shawn Corey Carter’s life where he asked himself, “Who would have thought I’d become Jay Z?”
Jay Z — the brand — was able to break through manifold industries, leading Jay Z to become the second wealthiest rapper in 2017. Whether it was a pocketful of dreams or the right calculated moves, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter has proven himself every time.
Jay Z, 47, has made millions on record labels, concert sales, music streaming and album sales
clothing and merchandise, endorsements, and real estate.
Most people will know him for his lyrical content, signing on some of the biggest artists. You may have supported him in his rise to incredible wealth by purchasing a Rocawear sweatshirt or two — one of his earlier entrepreneurial efforts.
Over the past few years, Jay Z has invested in several tech startups that could eventually push him to become the first hip hop billionaire.
Take a look at some of Jay Z’s investments:
Known as the Uber of private jets, JetSmarter Inc aims to make it easy to book private jets at the last minute through its mobile app. Fort Lauderdale-based JetSmarter is backed by Jay-Z, and its one of his largest investments. Other JetSmarter investors include the royal family of Saudi Arabia. JetSmarter recently raised $105 million in Series C funding, The Street reported in December. The Wall Street Journal estimates that JetSmarter has raised at least $157 million over several funding rounds. The latest round raises JetSmarter’s valuation to $1.6 billion, the company said, according to The Hill.
Jay Z announced in March that his entertainment company, Roc Nation, will invest in startups through a new platform, Arrive. He’ll provide startups with brand services, business development, advisory and capital to grow. In exchange for such services, investors typically own a piece of the firms they invest in, and a piece of their future revenue.
“Arrive was created to leverage our experience and resources in building brands, developing consumer-facing businesses, managing artists and representing athletes. We’ve opened that diversified, global range of expertise to a new vertical: entrepreneurs and their early stage businesses” said Neil Sirni, head of new ventures at Roc Nation, in a press release.
Arrive also plans to launch a traditional venture fund to support existing portfolio companies as they grow.
Jay Z invested in Julep, a Seattle-based beauty products company in 2013. Jane Park, a former Starbucks executive, founded the company in 2007. Julep raised $10.3 million in a Series B financing round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Other investors included Lady Gaga, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Digital Music News reported.
In December 2016, Glansaol announced that it had agreed to buy Julep for an undisclosed amount. Glansaol is a new beauty and personal care company founded through a partnership between former Revlon CEO Alan T. Ennis and global private equity firm Warburg Pincus, Beauty Packaging reported. Julep was one of three acquisitions chosen by Glansaol for their “inspirational founders, high-quality products and unique position within the marketplace,” the firm said in a press release.
Jay Z has shown his support for fresh ideas by supporting startups that fill gaps in consumer demand — startups like high-tech luggage firm Away.
Away founders Jen Rubio and Steph Korey are former executives at Warby Parker, an eyewear company that disrupted the eyewear industry by bypassing middlemen and retail markups, according to Bloomberg.
Familiar with industries that remained unchanged for decades, Rubio and Korey teamed up to create a travel brand with products that combine high-quality materials and innovative tech at an affordable price.
Their luggage will charge your phone. It has USB ports hidden under retractable handles which let you charge an iPhone up to five times and an iPad at least once, according to Business Insider. Away luggage includes a cable to recharge the suitcase’s built-in battery and a screwdriver if you want to remove the battery completely — something the company recommends you do if traveling to Asia, where customs officials can strict.
“Away is trying to transform a staid, unglamorous industry with a few well-designed takes on a simple product that one rarely needs to buy,” Bloomberg reported.
Jay Z has dabbled in angel investing in the past. He participated in Uber’s 2011 Series B funding round, when it was valued at $300 million. Uber’s valuation has since ballooned 200 times to $66 billion, according to BizJournals.
But one big success (Uber) doesn’t necessarily mean Jay Z will kick everyone’s ass with his business acumen—particularly given the challenges he’s facing with Tidal, another of Jay Z’s investments — Gizmodo reported.
Jay Z bought Swedish company Aspiro for $56 million in 2015, AllHipHop News reported. The subscription-based music streaming service has faced some hurdles since Jay Z and other artist-owners relaunched the Tidal service in March 2015.
The initial public response to the streaming platform was negative, there has been significant executive turnover, and most music industry executives believed the service would not last a year.
Two years later, Forbes suggests Tidal could be the financial source that tips Jay Z into the billionaire class.
In January, Jay Z announced that Sprint was buying 33 percent of Tidal for $200 million plus a $75 million commitment for an annual artist marketing fund, CNN reported.
“Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential,” Jay Z said. “We are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”
Forbes reporter Zack O’Malley Greenburg said the Sprint deal shows what the future could hold for Tidal:
Sprint’s $200 million January investment in Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service reportedly valued the platform at $600 million, more than 10 times what Jay Z paid for it two years ago…Tidal … could one day be the asset that tips Jay Z into billionaire territory–ahead of Dre and perhaps even Diddy.
Attached to Sprint’s massive customer base, Tidal suddenly seems much more appealing to tech giants as they look to bolster their streaming offerings. Adding a built-in audience of 45 million-plus could be compelling for Apple as it looks to catch up to Spotify, or perhaps Google or Amazon, as both behemoths try to make a true splash in the space.
Forbes currently lists Jay Z’s net worth at $810 million, second among the wealthiest Hip Hop representatives in 2017 to Sean “Diddy” Combs’ $820 million.
Just a year ago, Jay Z had a net worth of $610 million, according to AllHipHopNews.
Besides Jay Z, other founding Tidal artist-owners include Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, J. Cole, Madonna, Calvin Harris, Chris Martin, Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, Usher, Deadmau5, and Arcade Fire.
Jay Z, Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke founded Roc-A-Fella records in 1996, initially to serve as an independent label for Jay Z’s first album. The company grew in the early 2000s, with Jay Z as the label’s major image. Following years of rumors of friction and feuds, Jay Z was named president and CEO of Def Jam Records. He left Def Jam in 2007 and later started Roc Nation.
Jay Z founded his entertainment company, Roc Nation, in 2008. With offices in New York City, London, Nashville, Austin, and Los Angeles, Roc Nation owns a record label, talent agency, touring and concert production company, music, film, and TV production company and music publishing house. It’s home to diverse recording artists, musicians and record producers including J. Cole, Big Sean, Rihanna, Claudia Leitte, Vic Mensa, Grimes, Demi Lovato, DJ Khaled, Omarion, T.I., The LOX, Yo Gotti and Lil Wayne.
Jay Z bought the Armand de Brignac champagne brand in 2014 for an undisclosed amount — $200 million, according to Page Six — and helped bring Ace of Spades, a champagne he loves, to fame in the hip-hop world, Vibe reported.
“Jay is a very strong businessman, certainly one that likes to understand what consumers want and here to build the business for the long term,” Armand’s CEO Sebastien Besson told Bloomberg. “He always has a few bottles on hand for a celebration, I know that for sure.”
Under Jay Z’s watch, the company has introduced three new champagne editions. In April, A2 went on sale with an $850 price tag per bottle, Time reported. Only 2,333 bottles will be sold. The company’s CEO told Bloomberg that Jay Z didn’t have much direct influence on the brand, but “he always has a few bottles on hand for a celebration”