Most people probably know Ashton Kutcher for his success in television and film, but he’s not-so-quietly also become a pretty successful investor in startups as well. So successful, in fact, that Kutcher and investment partner Guy Oseary have convinced a group of limited partners to put money into a new fund called Sound Ventures.
Tonight at SXSW, Kutcher and Oseary are launching the new fund with a party at the Copper Restaurant and Lounge in downtown Austin. By doing so, those two Hollywood types hope to show that they’re serious about investing in tech companies.
Of course, Kutcher and Oseary aren’t new to that game. Through A-Grade Investments, they put money into such high-flying tech startups as Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify. They’ve also seen exits through the acquisition of investments such as Nest, SmartThings, and Socialcam, among others.
But that was mostly seen as a hobby for the two. Now Kutcher and Oseary moving up to invest other people’s money — and will do so through a new, more formalized fund with some big backers.
But with the new fund comes a slight change in leadership. Sources tell us Kutcher and Oseary will continue to lead all investment decisions at Sound Ventures, but Ron Burkle will no longer hold the general partner role. Burkle right-hand-man and fund manager Chris Hollod is also no longer a part of the inner circle, we’ve heard.
Instead, Kutcher and Oseary have raised institutional funding from the same type of limited partners that you would see at other venture firms. While they haven’t publicly made that info available, we’ve heard one backer is TPG — which was also an investor in Uber and an anchor investor in Sherpa Ventures.
With a more formal venture fund, Kutcher and Oseary will be able to write bigger checks, invest in later-stage startups, and also put more money into investments that raise follow-on rounds. That could also mean Sound Ventures moving into more growth-stage investments in companies where they weren’t able to put money into the Series A.
A-Grade had mostly been focused on early-stage investments but at the launch event, Kutcher told TechCrunch that Sound Ventures would allow him and Oseary to be more stage-agnostic when considering what companies to invest in. Considering their early success, having the ability to double down on the startups that worked out could mean bigger returns for everyone involved.