Original Article by Jonathan Shieber | TechCrunch
Leonardo DiCaprio is making a significant commitment to the Los Angeles-based investment firm Struck Capital as part of the actor’s commitment to building LA into a tech development powerhouse.
It’s part of what Struck Capital founder Adam Struck called a vision of making Los Angeles “a leading hub for innovation to save the world.”
Struck Capital, which is currently investing out of a $55 million second fund, would not disclose the size of DiCaprio’s stake, but said that the investment is significant.
“Los Angeles has a creative and innovative spirit like nowhere else, and I’m excited to be investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders in my hometown,” said DiCaprio, in a statement.
DiCaprio has already made a number of investments in startup companies that have done very well for the Academy Award-winning actor. Two investments, mattress retailer Casper and meat alternative manufacturer Beyond Meat, are now both publicly traded companies. In fact, Beyond Meat was one of the best performing public offerings of the last year.
And the two investments highlight themes of consumer innovation and sustainability that are a through-line across the startup commitments DiCaprio has made public, according to Crunchbase. Other investments include the lab-grown diamond manufacturer Diamond Foundry; the tea company promoting sustainable rainforest preservation, Runa Tea; recycling technology developer Rubicon; the sustainable meal prep company Love The Wild; and Magnus, an app that bills itself as a Shazam for art. DiCaprio is also an investor in the Los Angeles-based ethically and sustainably focused financial services firm Aspiration.
“He sees this as a way to support LA,” said Struck of DiCaprio’s commitment.
In addition to his commitment to the fund, DiCaprio will be making co-investments alongside the Struck Capital team. In fact, the actor has already invested in Raptor Maps, a company that uses drones to analyze the productivity and operations of solar farms.
“He chose us because he already appreciates our mandate,” said Struck. And while the firm may not be an impact investment fund by design, Struck said the company’s deals focus on financial inclusion, sustainability and technological innovation as first principals.
“I think, fundamentally, if a business is mission-driven, they’re most likely going to acquire higher enterprise values and retain more talent,” Struck said.
Struck is now the fourth largest dedicated seed fund in Los Angeles, and has nearly $150 million in assets under management. Its portfolio companies include: Sendoso, ScratchPay, Mythical Games and Brainbase and has backed and exited a number of later-stage companies like Mojo Vision, Postmates, Nutanix, Latch, Grab and Wunder Mobility.
“Alongside the team at Struck Capital we’re creating a community, where the next generation of LA’s leaders can grow their business, learn from one another, achieve their visions, and improve our world,” DiCaprio said in a statement.