Investing in food start-ups seems to be the new way celebrities like to endorse products they believe in. Instead of blatant shilling via television commercials, they put their money where their mouth is, giving money to companies they truly want to support. Coffee is a big one. Nas Jonah Hill and Jamie Kennedy have all invested in Philz Coffee. Jared Leto and Tony Hawk have pitched in for Blue Bottle. 50 Cent invested in Vitamin Water. Beyoncé in Watermelon Water. Here are 9 celebrities you may be surprised to find out have invested in the restaurant industry, via reservation apps to meal delivery services.
1. Gwyneth Paltrow, Serena Williams
The actress and tennis pro both recently decided to drop some cash into this new company that sells all the foods you see on Instagram, in frozen form: organic smoothies, overnight oats and chia puddings — all of which are shipped directly to the consumer.
2. Bill Gates
Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat
Silicon Valley start-up Impossible Foods has created a hamburger that “bleeds” – one they say rivals real meat. Founded in 2016, a handful of restaurants in major cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Fransisco already have the burger on their menus.
“Have you tried crickets yet?” is the first thing you see when you go to Exo Protein’s website. The product they sell is a protein bar made from cricket flour (ground up crickets). Each bar contains 40 crickets, or about 5 crickets per bite. How long before we start seeing cricket bars in rap videos?
4. Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas
Known for its Ember Mug — the world’s most advanced temperature adjustable mug — this start-up aims to change the way people eat and drink by transforming the drinkware and dishware industry.
5. John Legend, Toby McGuire, Demi Moore
Described as a “Costco meets Whole Foods” business model, this online retailer — founded in 2014 — is an online retailer offering thousands of healthy, natural products from popular brands at wholesale prices.
6. Aziz Ansari, Jimmy Fallon
Momofuku kingpin David Chang launched his food delivery company in the spring of 2016 in NYC. Ansari — a well-known foodie as depicted in season 2 of Master of None — and Fallon both jumped on the bandwagon.
7. Ashton Kutcher
This online marketplace-slash-farmers market connects farmers and food producers directly with consumers, cutting out the middleman completely. Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures backs the project, which was founded in 2014 and plans to go public by 2018.
8. Jared Leto, Will.i.am., Jon Favreau
The reservation app, launched in 2014, allows you to book reservations and discover new ones in your city. It enables diners to book tables and hot restaurants for a $5 booking fee. Now, it’s shifted gears, charging restaurants for software that allows them to manage tables, maintain a customer database and accept reservations on their own website.
This cold-pressed watermelon water company launched in 2013 by two women whose goal was to turn bruised, misshaped and otherwise unsellable watermelons into cold-pressed juice. Around that same time, Beyoncé sang the line “I’ve been drinking watermelon” in her hit song “Drunk in Love.” The ladies jumped on the opportunity to grab Bey’s attention, stocking her office with the pretty pink drink for months, eventually landing an investment from her.