Ashton Kutcher knows first-hand about the power of angel investing.
Yes, that Ashton Kutcher.
The guy who starred in a movie called "Dude, Where's My Car?" and played the dopey Michael Kelso in "That '70s Show" is in real life an intelligent, savvy, and well-respected angel investor.
His success demonstrates just how much of an impact angel investing can have on a person's ability to build wealth – even someone with a lucrative acting career.
Kutcher, now 41, got interested in investing after discovering that rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson had negotiated an equity stake in Vitaminwater parent Glaceau in exchange for an endorsement deal. When Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) bought Glaceau in 2007, 50 Cent received a $100 million windfall.
Kutcher, who had made a conventional endorsement deal with Nikon Corp. (OTCMKTS: NINOY) around the same time, had an epiphany.
"I'm like, 'Whoa, hold on, wait a second. I've got to figure out how to get in the equity game, because it just makes so much more sense,'" Kutcher told Forbes in a 2016 interview.
It was a short leap to investing in startups from there…
How Ashton Kutcher Got Hooked on Angel Investing
In late 2009, Netscape co-founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen invited Kutcher to put $1 million into a startup called Skype.
Watch Now: Robert Herjavec is helping everyday Americans discover the next Airbnb. Click here now…
Kutcher joined with music manager Guy Oseary (his clients include Madonna and U2) and billionaire Ron Burkle to create A-Grade Investments, a venture capital firm that would target early-stage startups.
They looked for startups that had three characteristics:
- Founders they wanted to work with.
- A problem-solving mission statement focused on saving time or enriching an experience.
- Businesses that would benefit from their personal involvement.
As improbable as it seems, Kutcher was a natural at finding high-reward startups. In fact, his bets fare better on average than those of most other venture capitalists. According to Forbes, which took a look at A-Grade's books in 2016, Kutcher has generated returns of nearly 8.5x.
"If you can routinely return 3x, you're considered one of the best VCs," Andreessen told Forbes. "If you can return 5x, it's considered to be a home run. I took my math classes: 8x is seriously higher than 5x."
Kutcher's ability to identify winning startups even landed him a few guest appearances on ABC's hit show "Shark Tank," where he competed for deals with the likes of Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary ("Mr. Wonderful").
For sure, Kutcher has had more than his fair share of mega-hits.
In 2011, A-Grade invested $2.5 million into Airbnb, eventually reaping a $90 million gain for a return of 3,500%.
A-Grade Investments also made bets on such winners as Spotify Technology S.A. (NYSE: SPOT), Foursquare, and payments company Dwolla. In less than a decade, the firm has turned $30 million of investments into $250 million in assets.
You can see the impact of such proficient angel investing in Ashton Kutcher's net worth. While he was doing very well as an actor, his net worth really started to take off in 2011, after he founded A-Grade.
Take a look at this chart:
You can see Kutcher's net worth grow steadily from 1998 through 2009 as his acting career reaps the benefit of being on a hit TV sitcom as well as multiple films.
But after Kutcher starts angel investing with his 2009 stake in Skype, his net worth takes a more vertical trajectory.
There's a valuable lesson here, regardless of your income. Investing can help build net worth more quickly.
And angel investing – where you can realize massive gains by investing in companies very early before their valuation goes ballistic – can do wonders to build net worth.
You may think that you can't get access to – or that you can't afford – the kind of high-potential startups that have made Kutcher millions.
But that's no longer the case…
Anyone Can Become an Angel Investor with as Little as $50
It's true, angel investing used to be off limits to the average American… but Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec said it best during this broadcast: "The walls have finally come down. You no longer have to be rich, famous, or powerful to become an angel investor!"
Congress has now made it possible for you to take advantage of these life-changing deals.
By becoming an angel investor, you can be right there – one of the first to invest in the next Steve Jobs, the next Bill Gates, or the next Elon Musk.
And because you're there at the beginning, the upside is infinitely greater.
For so long, regular folks have been locked out… but not anymore. Click here for details…
About the Author
David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.