Raising Finance

U2’s Bono becomes latest celebrity to link up with venture capital firm

3 min read

14 April 2015

Former editor

Having already made a number of equity investments through his Elevation Partners firm, Irish musician Bono has reportedly joined forces with TPG Capital.

Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson, has, according to the New York Post, become a “special advisor” to a new growth fund currently being funded by private equity firm TPG Capital – run by David Bonderman.

While a large number of musicians, actors, sportsman or other celebrities have taken to angel investing, Bono has become part of a small group who are directly involved with a venture capital firm.

Other notable members include retired basketball player Magic Johnson, who joined Detroit Venture Partners in 2011, and TV personality Ryan Seacrest, who teamed up with two private equity firms.

Bono joined Elevation Partners shortly after its 2004 launch and serves as managing director, working alongside former Silver Lake Partners investors Roger McNamee and Marc Bodnick. Its portfolio companies include Facebook (which it apparently owns a 1.5 per cent stake in), Forbes, Yelp and MarketShare.


Also joining Bono as a special advisor at TPG Capital is actor Ashton Kutcher, said the New York Post. Kutcher, who is heavily linked with technology company Lenovo as a product engineer, has made 45 investments in 41 companies, according to deal aggregating site Crunchbase. Notable investments include online community marketplace Airbnb, wash and fold laundry service Washio and social magazine Flipboard.

At last month’s SXSW technology conference in Austin, Texas, Kutcher and Guy Oseary, who manages Bono and Madonna, announced they were setting up a new venture capital firm called Sound Ventures.

Away from directly investing in growth businesses, Bono’s other enterprise actives have seen the musician, alongside his other band members at U2, join the board of directors at Fender. Seen by the company’s co-chairman as being able to help “build a company to meet its potential as a business and brand”, Bono is responsible for strategy and marketing concepts to increase fan engagement.

Speaking at the time, Bono said: “I’m excited to be part of developing newer technologies with Fender, as well as helping protect the jobs and commitment to excellence of their age-old craft.”

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In 1992 Bono purchased and renovated a Clarence Hotel in Dublin with band member The Edge. Together, the duo also invested in Dropbox and Yelp, and even had a nightclub called “The Kitchen”. He also has a stake in a chain of Dublin cafes called Nude, founded by his elder brother in 1999.