With SXSW Interactive happening right now and Righting Style actively seeking funding, I thought it was only appropriate that I compare this post asking Ashton Kutcher for an investment to a Judy Blume book about a teenage girl looking to God after going through puberty, that quite frankly traumatized me when I read it as a young girl. Just like Margaret sought out God's wisdom, I'm looking to Ashton for an entrepreneurial spirit. This isn't to say that God can't make a "7 day" overnight success.
Fashion tech startups used to be a dime a dozen. They were more apt to be covered in movies as virtual fantasy than in real life publications. I just had a serious flashback to Cher's "virtual closet" in Clueless. Luckily, that was so 1995, and today the fashion industry is finally seeking relevant innovation circa 2012. If you scroll around the web you will slowly but surely find real life fashion tech startups that you can use outside the 90210 zip code.
With the likes of Shoe Dazzle, Rent the Runway, and Gilt Group among many other startups, it appears that the fashion niche is just heating up. Another hot item is Ashton Kutcher... Well, at least his wallet. The former fashion model turned TV star turned movie star turned TV star again turned tech investor is becoming well-known for his new business ventures. His investment in Foursquare, SoundCloud, and most relevant here, Fashism, is making him a hot commodity and serious investor in the startup community.
Of course having Kutcher as an investor isn't the end all, be all of working with venture capitalists, but with his portfolio experience, abnormally huge influence (over 9 million Twitter followers), and high-level connections, there is only one legitimate question a co-founder could ask when approached by the golden-boy Ashton Kutcher... Why settle for two and half men when you could have one?
It's obvious why a startup would love the opportunity to work with a high profile investor, yet the question my co-founders and I have been pondering over is not what makes companies and future companies want to work with high profile investors, but rather what makes high profile investors want to work with startups? So after doing some research and, let's be honest, some intensive Googling, I've come up with a list of ways to possibly get Ashton Kutcher to invest in your fashion startup based off of previous tech related articles, commercials, and other reliable sources. Granted that Ashton and I don't exactly run in the "same crowd" there are a few assumptions we're working with here.
Seven Ways to Get Ashton Kutcher to Invest in Your Fashion Startup (We're taking our own advice and we'll let you know if it works!)
7. Own a Nikon 1
Alright, so this probably isn't a requirement, but we've come to the conclusion that it couldn't hurt!
6. Don't Worry, Be Happy
Ashton looks for startups that are building websites and applications aiming to help others build friendships, connections and all around happier people. Not to get all Field of Dreams on you, but the idea behind his thought process is that "If you build it, they will come." Meaning, if you build something that ultimately makes people happier and the world a better place, whether through love, health, friendship etc..., the wealth will follow.
5. Be a Witch
In a past talk at TechCrunch Disrupt, Ashton compared investors looking for a startup to being on a witch hunt. He believes investors are weeding through the thousands of startups to find the next best thing -- something so innovative that it's beyond their realm to even fathom it. This new startup idea should make the investor ask simple questions like "How does it work?" Since most entrepreneurs are currently working their magic, do you think it's fair to say that Silicon Valley is the new Salem? It's yet to be determined...
4. P2P, Enough Said
Embrace the peer to peer marketplace. It's the 21st century high-five.
3. Speak Chinese... Or At Least Know Where China Is On The Map!
Ashton recommends the companies he invests in think globally from the start. It's important to already have a grasp on the differences between cultures and what they mean. Something in the U.S. such as a metric of measuring success or IT development could be completely irrelevant in Europe, or vice versa. Start the learning curve, NOW.
2. Be Social
Showing that you know how to use social media comes as a bonus to the guy with 9 million followers. Surely, this isn't a surprise? Use the (inform, create, entertain, educate) mantra (ICEE) to help grab his attention. Watching No Strings Attached while drinking one, though enjoyable, doesn't actually count.
1. Let's Get Physical with Your Team, Olivia Newton John Style
Ashton recently stated that he's looking for a "strong team." I'm going to take a BIG guess that what he said has nothing to do with how large your CMO's biceps are. On the rare chance that it does, slap on an 80s headband and start pumping some laptop iron during your coffee breaks.