Magazine Feature

Maverick's Guy Oseary: 'Engineers Are the Rock Stars of Today'

Guy Oseary photographed by Austin Hargrave at Quixote Studios in West Hollywood, California on October 7, 2014.
Austin Hargrave

Guy Oseary photographed by Austin Hargrave at Quixote Studios in West Hollywood, California on October 7, 2014.

When Maverick’s Guy Oseary, 44, wasn’t busy building music’s pre-eminent management firm, he and partner Ashton Kutcher were parlaying early investments in Spotify, Uber and Airbnb, among others, into a $250 million portfolio.

What was your first investment?
When I was 27, I invested in an incubator called Idealab. It was right before the tech bubble burst, so that’s how that went.

What did that teach you?
To diversify. When I came back into investing about eight or nine years ago, I made two bets: one offline -- Vita Coco coconut water -- and one online, with Groupon.

Next Now: The Future of Music

Who do you look up to in the investment space?
My partner, Ashton Kutcher, is a great investor. Smart as hell and very intuitive. He has an engineering background, so he understands the deep tech side of things. I don’t have that. I can name any song from the ’80s in the first two seconds, but that’s not going to move the deal.

So what do you bring to the partnership?
I’m just a really good-looking guy next to Ashton. (Laughs.) I bring my A&R instincts. Engineers and founders are the rock stars of today. They have a vision. They have a voice. My job is to identify that and help them reach an audience.

If someone were to bring you an idea for a new streaming service today, would you be interested?
Now? I think it’s a little late in the U.S. and Europe. I’m a passionate believer in India, so we’re backing [streaming service] Saavn in a big way. But it’s very hard to build a streaming service. It’s not easy to get people to pay.

Any investments in virtual reality?
We have a lot of investments in VR technology and platforms. But it’s a very complicated concept at this stage. It’s still early days.

Is there a particular investment that you should have made but didn’t?
A friend of mine started WeWork, and I didn’t invest. I loved the concept, too: It’s about sharing of services, location, support — it’s everything I love. And it’s now worth 20 billion dollars. What was I thinking?

This article originally appeared in the March 18 issue of Billboard.