Nas and Snoop Dogg have backed trading application Robinhood, and now legendary rap star Jay-Z has added his imprimatur through a subsidiary, Arrive. Robinhood is already valued at over a billion dollars, closing in on 1.5 billion as of this writing, having recently announced Robinhood Crypto.
Shawn Carter, 48, better known as Jay-Z, owns an entertainment-centric management company, Roc Nation: talent agency, concert promotion, music production, record label, film production, and even music publishing are among its calling. The 21 Grammy-winning, 100 million records sold mogul can now add crypto to that list.
In Spring of last year, Mr. Carter announced a subsidiary, Arrive Venture Capital, under his Roc Nation banner (itself owned by Live Nation Entertainment, which in turn is owned by Liberty Media) to focus on startups. Mr. Carter’s penchant for investing in hungry companies goes back at least as far as 2012, when he reportedly went tech: luggage maker Away, private jet outfit Jetsmarter, and even a series B round with Uber.
The director of Arrive, Neil Sirni, explained: “Arrive was created to leverage our experience and resources in building brands, developing consumer-facing businesses, managing artists and representing athletes. We’ve opened that diversified, global range of expertise to a new vertical: entrepreneurs and their early stage businesses.”
Robinhood late last month announced it was expanding its services to include free trades in bitcoin and ether, and it set off a firestorm of publicity. Though the company doesn’t plan to become a cryptocurrency exchange proper, analysts believe such a format could one day seriously challenge more well-established platforms. Within a week, over one million people signed up for the service.
Mr. Sirni continued, “We believe in Baiju and Vlad’s mission to make the financial markets more accessible and cost efficient for customers of all size. Robinhood will have our support as they execute the long-term vision of their company.”
Robinhood already has over three million users. Its total value is inching near one and a half billion dollars. Its model is a loss leader, with stock trades being essentially free. It also launched a web-based service, and its Robinhood Crypto, though limited in scope initially, is already considered a success.
Arrive has invested in the location sharing project Insite Applications, and Devialet, an audio technology company. Robinhood is Arrive’s third venture, and comes immediately after the startup’s bitcoin and either announcement.
Though rappers such as 50 Cent have notoriously invested in bitcoin as well, Jay-Z was the first. His Soldier Field stadium concert partnered with local newspaper Chicago Sun Times to sell tickets in bitcoin through a third party vendor.
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