Guy Oseary’s A-GRade, a fund he launched in partnership with Ashton Kutcher and billionaire Ron Burkle in 2010, announced a $100 million valuation at Techcrunch’s Disrupt NY conference on Wednesday. In a panel discussion with Techcrunch founder Michael Arrington, Kutcher and Oseary cut right to the chase and addressed Arrington’s questions about rumors of the fund’s new outside investors.
“Yeah that’s true,” Kutcher said. “We’re bundling our current investments and then taking our new capital to invest in new investments with the same strategy. We’re somewhat formalizing what we’ve been doing.”
Oseary teased the news in an April cover story with Billboard, in which he and fellow music managers Troy Carter and Scooter Braun discussed their tech investments. Noting that an investor’s success is ultimately measured by the size of their exits, Oseary told Billboard, “We have investments in a lot of companies that haven’t exited. Their growth is all you can measure.” Kutcher also added, “What we do as a team is more valuable than some celebrity marketing your product. We’re trying to figure out the direction of the product and the direction of the company. We put our money where our mouth is, not create some promotional vehicle for myself or Guy.”
Oseary and Kutcher haven’t confirmed all of A-GRade’s investments, but many of the fund’s confirmed companies include Airbnb, Shazam, Path, Flipboard, Foursquare, Uber, Spotify, Fab.com and Soundcloud. Oseary also identified another of A-GRade’s music-related investments, RapGenius, at the TechCrunch panel, shortly after the company announced its breaking-news product News Genius (http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/01/rap-genius-enterprise/).
Several of A-GRade’s partners who spoke with Billboard for the April 20 cover story praised Oseary and A-Grade’s ability to add tangible value to their companies’ backends. Airbnb co-founder/CEO Brian Chesky credited Oseary with introducing him to the company’s now-heads of international and for playing a hands-on role in Airbnb’s global growth. (The online travel housing company was valued at more than $2.5 billion in a Wall Street Journal report last October.) “Guy’s really focused on big, not small steps,” Chesky said. “Expanding internationally was a major thing for us, and the outcome was we eventually became the overwhelming leader in our category. We are far ahead of the clones and all the other international companies—we’re no longer an American company.”
Fab.com co-founder Jason Goldberg also cited Oseary’s introductions to fashion designers who’ve sold on the Fab platform and other key partners as having a direct correlation to his company’s current valuation—Fab was expected to complete $500 million in revenue by 2013, according to Goldberg’s comments at TechCrunch’s Dispute confab in 2012. “I can say without a doubt that Guy’s involvement with Fab has added tens of millions of dollars to Fab’s value as an enterprise.”