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Marketplace Morning Report

Justin Bieber: Portrait of a venture capitalist

Molly Wood Nov 7, 2013
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Venture capitalists come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes a venture capitalist is a no nonsense middle aged man in a pair of slacks with a Bluetooth in his ear. Sometimes he’s a 19-year-old multiplatinum selling recording artist and constant source of amusement to the tabloid press.

Yes, we’re talking about Justin Bieber, the fabulously wealthy global boy-celebrity. And, belieb it or not, J-Biebs has a pretty solid investment record. Back before it was released in the States, Bieber was an early investor in a little music streaming service called Spotify. So, when Anne Frank’s favorite celebrity from the future drops $1.1 million into a new social network for teens called Shots of Me, it’s worth paying attention.

So does all this mean that between world tours and visits to South American brothels, Justin Bieber is a tech tastemaker with his finger on the pulse? Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson asked friend of the show and tech critic Molly Wood.

“My suspicion is that Justin Bieber himself has not done a ton of thinking about Shots of Me — let’s be honest,” Wood says. “Previously, his investment strategy has been lead by his manager, Scooter Braun. But Justin Bieber is a guy who came up through social media, and so the idea of him helping to develop a social media app or site of some sort — there aren’t many details about it — that’s actually really realistic.”

It also helps that some 46 million people follow Bieber on Twitter.

“He’s in the rare position, I think, of a celebrity who could have some influence on a brand,” Wood says.

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