Kim Kardashian has made headlines again, but this time the reason is a little more unexpected.
A Media and lifestyle personality, fashion model, entrepreneur, prison reform activist - this list does not even begin to cover the realm of her ventures. Her influenced cannot be denied or understated. With an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion and hundreds of millions of social media followers, her every move carries weight and has an impact.
The latest addition to her portfolio proves that and more. In partnership with Jay Sammons, a former senior partner at Carlyle Group Inc., Kim Kardashian is launching private equity firm SKKY Partners which will focus on investments in consumer, hospitality, luxury, digital commerce and media sectors. Kardashian and Sammons will serve as both co-founders and co-managing partners of SKYY Partners.
While the news is not new, the implications are. We are witnessing a shift in buy-side investing. Kim Kardashian is by far not the first celebrity to make inroads into the alternative investment space. Serena Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher, LeBron James, Gwyneth Paltrow - these are just some of the Hollywood and sports stars who have made a name for themselves in the private equity and venture capital industry.
Kim K.'s latest move will undoubtedly change the alternative investment landscape. For starters, her unparalleled social media presence is an incredibly powerful marketing tool to get the businesses she invests in from 1 to 100 by promoting, advocating, and sharing these products with her followers.
The key is not just sharing but in influencing behavior and creating brand loyalty, awareness, and perception (coined the Halo Effect) -- all of which Kim Kardashian has the ability to influence with a singular tweet, Instagram Post, or interview comment. Prime example is when another member of the Kardashian / Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner, caused Snapchat's
In a conversation with Yahoo Finance, Clayton Durant, a senior manager at public relations firm MikeWorldWide, emphasized that "The VC model is going to really start to shift. Cultural currency is just as impactful as the money and expertise that's traditionally ruled private equity - social capital is the piece that's going to disrupt venture capital and force it to shift its model."
In a space historically dominated by white men and those of more "traditional" backgrounds, Kim Kardashian's entry is structurally changing the demographic of what an investment decision maker looks like. She is further creating an avenue for female and minority founders to secure capital. Kristen Phillips, manager at UNSWN Founders New Wave Program (female entrepreneur accelerator), noted that women-led start-ups take up to nine months longer to secure funding than their male counterparts.
For a seemingly unglamorous space, alternative investing is attracting quite a lot of attention from celebrities, athletes, and politicians who are looking for their second act. And private equity and venture capital firms that are looking to attract limited partners are putting a famous face to the name. With the meteoric rise in investment firms, simply touting accolades and previously successful investments is now proving to not be enough, and I believe that we are only beginning to see the tip of the iceberg.