Lil Wayne takes equity stake in French watch company as U.S. brand ambassador, as he moves beyond endorsement deals to entrepreneurial partnerships.

When Paris-based graphic artist Victor Louzon created his Wize & Ope characters five years ago for a comic book, he had no idea it would have the potential to become a global brand name fronted by one of the world's biggest hip-hop stars.

By 2012, Louzon had already surpassed his own expectations by using the characters as the face for trendy sports watches his company designed in the style of a Swatch or G-Shock timepiece. Its early success in Europe and Asia already had more established rivals and suppliers making enquiries for equity stakes, according to Louzon.

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