Since Kutcher’s involvement in a company or project inspires others to join in, it could be helpful to look at three of his more successful investments to see what, if anything, they have in common.
Before founding A-Grade Investments, Kutcher’s venture capital firm, he took a position with social network Foursquare.
Foursquare lets users “check in” from any location and share tips for others. Over time, the network learns what users like and guides them to similar locations wherever they are.
The service features apps for the iPhone, Android and others. Foursquare accounts can be tied to Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), allowing the user to send out automatic location updates.
Foursquare, which has 50 million users, monetizes via fees charged to certain businesses. The private company does not disclose revenue, but sources told The Wall Street Journal that Foursquare generated $15 million to $20 million in 2013, up considerably from the estimated $2 million generated in 2012.
Kutcher bought into Airbnb in 2011 through A-Grade Investments. Airbnb is an Internet marketplace that lets hosts connect with travelers to share accommodations in their homes for a fee.
When Kutcher first invested, Airbnb had about 60,000 listings. The company now has more than 500,000 listings with more than 10 million overnight stays booked so far.
As with all of his investments, Kutcher refuses to indicate the size of his stake in Airbnb. The company did say that it's his "biggest venture investment to date," according to GigaOm.
Airbnb generates revenue the old-fashioned way: by charging users for its services. According to The Wall Street Journal, 2013 revenue was about $250 million.
Kutcher also invested in the music streaming service Spotify. Speaking on CNBC, Kutcher said companies like Spotify and Airbnb succeed for one reason.
"You have to have the know-how and the moxie to actually put together the pieces and build the solution in a really effective way," he said.
According to Bloomberg, Spotify has 10 million users. At $10 per month, that equates to $1.2 billion in revenue.
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Kutcher’s investments share a common connection, aside from the fact they exist in the world of technology.
Kutcher said, “I’ll think, 'I’m a user of this platform. What do I want and how badly do I want it?’”
He added, “The companies that will ultimately do well are the companies that chase happiness. If you find a way to help people find love, or health or friendship, the dollar will chase that.”
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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