These TikTok Stars Now Have a $15 Million Fund to Put money into Startups
- Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck have set up a $ 15 million venture fund.
- Your Animal Capital fund will invest in pre-seed, seed and Series A companies.
- The TikTok stars have established themselves as productive angel investors over the past year.
- You can find more articles on Insider’s business page.
The Sway Boys take their venture career to the next level.
Josh Richards, 19, Griffin Johnson, 22 and Noah Beck, 19, teamed up with Gen Z VC and TalentX Entertainment Vice President Michael Gruen and Sway House CEO Marshall Sandman, a $ 15 million Animal Capital launched a dollar fund. The company has an excellent advisory board with big names like Twitch co-founder Justin Kan and the Winklevoss twins.
“What we’re doing in the fund is impact investing for profit,” said Sandman. “We’re looking for goods and services that make people’s lives better and more fun.”
The fund will invest in pre-seed, seed and series A-stage companies that focus on consumer, fintech, wellness and media startups.
The TikTok stars have spent the last year investing in hot companies like Stir and Lendtable – investing their own money. But running a fund means they write bigger checks on other people’s money.
The company’s biggest partners are Gruen and Sandman, who say he will run most of the day-to-day operations.
According to Sandman, the Sway Boys will be an invaluable resource for the fund, helping portfolio companies with things like media strategy and product development. And of course, potentially to promote some of the startups to their 60 million TikTok followers.
However, founders shouldn’t believe that a TikTok shoutout is guaranteed.
“The reality is that we can’t and we won’t dilute their brand,” said Sandman. “It’s about being really, very selective and thoughtful about how we work with the guys and our founders.”
The Sway Boys’ social media presence has been both a draw and an obstacle. When the group was considering starting a fund, Sandman said their first question was, “Are people going to take us seriously enough?”
Gruen says they just have to work hard to prove that they are at it in the long run.
“It’s just not good enough to be okay,” he said. “We have to be great because if we’re not great they all call us a fad.”
In addition to setting up a fund, Richards, Johnson and Beck have enrolled at Venture University, a prestigious program at VU Venture Partners that teaches participants the advantages and disadvantages of venture.
Sandman ultimately hopes her efforts will inspire other influencers to start investing.
“If not, we haven’t done our job,” he said.