Bono may be known for his humanitarian work, but the U2 frontman also commands the spotlight for his role as tech investor, highlighted recently by his investment in Dropbox, the popular file-hosting service -- which, of course, was announced by the company on Twitter.
The news was the latest in a string of successes for Dropbox. The company is gaining quite a bit of traction on the investment front, raising $250 million in Series B funding in October, an initiative led by Index Ventures. A number of notable investment firms participated in the October round, including Goldman Sachs, Benchmark Capital and Greylock Partners, among others. The company is now valued at an estimated $4 billion.
And for Bono, the Dropbox deal is the latest in a series of investments -- some hits, some misses. Many of his investments have come through Elevation Partners, which he joined in 2004 as a co-founder. And while a series of flops led to Bono and Elevation being dubbed "worst investors in America", some recent success stories have helped him turn that reputation around.
Here's a closer look:
Bono and Elevation Partners invested in the review website Yelp in 2010 to the <a href="http://www.portfolio.com/companies-executives/2010/02/11/yelp-gets-lift-from-elevation-partners-investment/" target="_hplink">tune of $25 million</a> <a href="http://www.thedeal.com/content/private-equity/yelp-ipo-shares-pop-in-debut.php" target="_hplink">for a 22% stake</a>. As of February, this investment was <a href="http://www.irishemigrant.com/ie/go.asp?p=story&storyID=11060" target="_hplink">set to make Bono and Elevation $250 million</a>.
In June 2007 Elevation Partners invested <a href="http://www.investorplace.com/2010/03/smartphone-stocks-aapl-palm-rimm-goog/" target="_hplink">$325 million for a 25% ownership stake in the tech company</a>. In 2010, they followed with an <a href="http://gpsobsessed.com/palm-gets-100-million-from-u2s-bono-and-friends-share-price-up-225-percent-in-one-day/index.html" target="_hplink">additional $100 million equity investment</a>. They would lose half their investment in this stock, only recovering some of their investment <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2010/04/28/hp-palm-deal-proves-bono-not-hot-as-an-investor/" target="_hplink">when Palm was purchased by HP</a>.
In November 2009 Elevation Partners paid $210 million for a stake in the social networking website. <a href="http://www.nme.com/news/u2/58677" target="_hplink">These Facebook stakes have quadrupled in value to $1 billion</a>.
Bono and The Edge <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/theater/bono-and-the-edge-explain-spider-man-back-story.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">put $70 million</a> into the incredibly ambitious Broadway show. Despite bad press from countless delays, cast injuries and a rampant budget, the show <a href="http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/06/21/bono-wont-be-caught-in-the-web-of-spider-man-finances/" target="_hplink">has begun turning a profit</a> due to expensive ticket prices and frequent showings. <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2011/11/spider-man-turn-off-the-dark-is-making-money-now.html" target="_hplink">All of this despite a reported $1 million per week in operating costs. </a>
Bono and Elevation Partners paid <a href="http://www.herald.ie/news/forbes-in-debt-crisis-3044396.html" target="_hplink">$237.2 million for a 45% stake</a> in 2006. Initially this investment raised the value of Forbes to $525 million, but with the rise of Internet news and the effects of the financial crisis, Forbes stock and circulation have suffered. Forbes is now worth <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2027008/Worst-investor-Bono-laugh-Facebook-stake-pays-off.html" target="_hplink">an estimated $100 million</a> and <a href="http://www.independent.ie/business/world/bonos-forbes-investment-hits-rocks-as-firm-struggles-to-refinance-50m-loan-3043870.html" target="_hplink">is under duress to refinance a $50 million debt due this past summer</a>.
Bono and Elevation <a href="http://www.nme.com/news/bono/61841" target="_hplink">put $100 million into Move.com</a>, which owns home and real estate websites. Company shares subsequently lost 50% of their value.