Amsterdam - In the United States, it is already the most common thing in the world that film stars and music idols act as corporate signatures in which they invest themselves. Football player Gregory van der Wiel brings this phenomenon to the Netherlands and sets up his own technology investment fund.
Singer Victoria Beckham started her own fashion house, golfer Tiger Woods invested early in Google and actor Jared Leto walked in when Internet or Things company Nest Labs took over $ 3.2 billion.
If it is the 2010 World Cup finalist and his business partner Funs Jacobs, Dutch stars will soon be the main players in these kinds of stories. With the Block Party investment fund, they focus on technology companies.
'Capital is sufficiently available in the market, but the right personality to promote a company, you do not just think,' explains Jacobs. 'Gregory saw opportunities there, but his football career is leading. Therefore, he does not have the time to go ahead and we are going to do this together. '
After Jacobs started working in October, he quickly approached Keadyn, and was impressed by the exits that already had his name. Keadyn, together with Jacobs, makes the first selection of investment requests. 'If we trust, we will introduce a company to Gregory. He is also the first investor in Block Party with € 2.5 million. We want to do ten investments. '
The entrepreneurs are talking to some other celebrities about investment, but can not say anything about names that will join Block Party. Jacobs: 'But considering the Gregory and I network, it's logical that they come from the sports and entertainment world. '
Jacobs calls rapper Jay-Z as his great example. 'If he had not set up a tech fund himself, I'd like to pick him up. He has made Tidal music service. And when JetSmarter, the Uber for private jets, made a new investment round, everyone wrote that it was Jay-Z's business. You and I know that he invests alone, but for the company such attention is of course good. '
Block Party looks especially at the fashion industry, sports and marketplaces ('It must be new and rebellious'). Due to the link with sounding names, Block Party predominantly expects to reach out to companies selling to consumers. The first investment, however, is in Voicey, a company in online influencer marketing: Facebook and Instagram stars who are promoting product promotion.
Jacobs: 'Voicey also has interesting data for us. Because it is not yet possible to say what the added value of a known name for a company is. If that is possible, we can also look at investments that do not involve any money. '
But what if a Block Party gets an investment request from a company that does not know a famous Dutchman? 'Then we have to pass it on,' Jacobs replies resolutely. 'For good companies, investors are in line. If a company wants to sea with us while it has nothing to do with our unique position, then you can wonder if it suits us so well. '