This post has been updated.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and former NBA player Kenny “the Jet” Smith have launched a new private equity fund called TitleCard Capital.
Their schtick? Companies “will benefit from TitleCard’s high-profile management team and investors,” according to the fund’s recently launched website. No longer will athletes and celebrities be relegated to mere spokespeople; now they’ll create and fund their own companies, the company says.
More from the site:
Celebrity businesspeople have significant successes leveraging their personal brands to drive awareness, form valuable partnerships, and create unique value for their companies and for themselves.
We believe elite athletes and artists are more than pitchmen for someone else, or even a personal brand for themselves, and instead empire builders.
In other words, TitleCard’s investment thesis is that rich people will want to invest with celebrities because famous people can tap their large Twitter and Facebook followings to sell stuff their companies make. Then, instead of watching the profits land in other people’s laps, they’ll be able to pocket more for themselves.
The website says the new firm is aimed at investing in companies across a wide spectrum of industries, including technology, consumer products, specialty finance, media, entertainment, and hospitality. It was the lead investor on a recent $9 million fund raise for online luxury mattress company Leesa.
Most of the management team is drawn from the same group of men (and yes, they are all men) who run the Denver, Colorado, based Impact Opportunities Fund.
According to the IOF’s website, the fund has made 10 private equity and debt investments in four companies since 2012: a hotel developer, a wine importer, a water filtration company, and a specialty lender that provides financing to professional athletes. While the fund doesn’t disclose its size, it said its previous fund managed $100 million and consisted of an acquisition of a light manufacturing company and a specialty finance firm.
Still, if you weren’t worried about there being a bubble before, you might be now.
Update: The company told Quartz that the artists and athletes involved in TitleCard are not the investment advisers, nor are they involved with investment decisions.
“The role of Jimmy Kimmel, Kenny Smith, Jessie James Decker and others to follow are that they provide marketing services to the portfolio companies,” managing partner Tyler Tysdal tells Quartz. “Yes, social media is one of those components and will be done with integrity and disclosure.”
He points out that there are women on TitleCard’s investment team (the firm’s accountant and its director of investment relations), as well as its “influencers group” of artists and athletes that will provide marketing services. “We are in discussions to bring on more Influencers into TitleCard, who include more women,” Tysdal tells Quartz.
Tysdal also said the company will operate from both Denver and Los Angeles.