Besides finally picking up an Oscar for his performance in “The Revenant” in 2016 and being an avid environmental philanthropist, Leonardo DiCaprio’s investments, as well as his acting, have made some waves in the world of finance. While he arguably doesn’t need the extra income, DiCaprio is active in the tech investment world.
According to CB Insights, DiCaprio has invested in 21startups, from which has exited five (although Pitchbook counts 18 investments and seven exits). His most recent investments, according to Crunchbase, were in Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat. Both companies, according to Gaynor Selby of FoodIngredientsFirst, “have demonstrated the ability to grow beef directly from animal cells, unveiling the first cultivated hamburger by Mosa Meat in 2013 and the first cultivated steak and ribeye by Aleph Farms in 2018 and 2021 respectively.” DiCaprio’s other VC investments, according to Crunchbase, include:
But being rich to begin with has not insulated DiCaprio’s investments from stress or even loss and failure. For example, he invested in Mobli (in 2011), a startup that tried to compete with the photo and video-sharing app Instagram. Mobli never grew close to touching Instagram’s unstoppable success. In fact, it was reported that even Leo himself didn’t use Mobli often, but all was not lost. While Mobli failed to get ahead of Instagram’s largeness, and finally filed for bankruptcy in 2016, the company sold their patented Geofilters to Snap to the tune of $7.7 million the following year.
DiCaprio (and he wasn’t the only famous name) was also unable to rescue Fisker Automotive, once the maker of a plug-in hybrid car called Karma that has since sunk to being just a trade name, purchased with other assets out of Fisker’s chapter 11 liquidation case. (On a side note: Fisker is famous principally because of a loan it received through the U.S. Department of Energy, and for a ruling on credit-bidding in the bankruptcy sale that sent investors into a tizzy). In the end, DiCaprio’s equity losses in Fisker may have been softened because when he invested in the company, they returned the favor with support for the actor’s environmental foundation.
Mattress company Casper, which DiCaprio also invested in early, was another miss. When it went public in early 2020, it was valued at less than half of what it was about a year earlier, when venture investors gave in its last private funding round.
It is difficult to estimate how good DiCaprio’s investment acumen actually is. His total earnings from film salaries and endorsements is estimated by Celebrity Net Worth to be about $400 million, whereas his total net worth is estimated to be about $260 million. On the other hand, an earning estimate is a pre-tax number, and, by their very nature, valuing private companies is notoriously difficult. Moreover, DiCaprio certainly appears to have had at least one big win: he was an early investor in Beyond Meat, which went public in May 2019 at a $4 billion valuation.
Regardless of his exact investing track record, DiCaprio is certainly an established and important venture capitalist. Indeed, some consider him to be one of the most prominent and influential climate activists in the world, certainly puts his money where his mouth is. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is committed to preserving wild habitats and ensuring “clean air, water, and livable climate” for all humans…
In the end, Leonardo DiCaprio is a prolific actor and activist, and to that list, he can legitimately add venture capitalist, a trifecta for an unsinkable recipe for success that sets a good example for fans and non-fans alike.
This is an updated version of an article originally published on October 13, 2017]
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With a Master’s degree in Journalism and extensive experience as a freelance writer and editor, Alicia has found success across genres including: news, business and finance, government/politics, faith and family as well as blogging.
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