Jessica Alba this week became the latest celebrity to try their hands at e-commerce, with the launch of Honest.

The own-label brand sells eco-friendly baby products, biodegradable nappies and organic skin care lotions.

Alba says it is aimed at busy mothers that don’t have the time to spend hours seeking out over-priced eco-friendly products.

Honest differentiates itself from the crowd by using an online subscription model to keep consumers hooked.

But Alba isn't the first actor to use their star power to launch an online business (or indeed revamp a failing one), so which other celebs have set their sights on digital?

1. Stephen Fry

The actor, TV presenter, Apple fan boy and prolific tweeter invested in social platform Pushnote back in 2010.

With a look and feel based largely on Twitter, Pushnote is a web commenting service that allows users to share links and give their opinion on the content.

Despite launching in January 2011, it's still in beta and has failed to capture the public’s imagination, so there may be some way to go before we’re adding ‘internet billionaire’ to Fry’s CV. 

2. Justin Timberlake

Timberlake is perhaps the best-known celeb-turned-investor for his part in the $35m takeover of MySpace.

Despite his claims that he would revolutionise the site it has continued to slide while Facebook, Twitter and Google+ keep growing.

The launch of a new MySpace TV product with Panasonic didn't sit well, and Timberlake looked less-than enthusiastic when announcing it at CES.

Not to be deterred, he has also invested in photo sharing site Dekko and image-rights startup Stipple.

3. LL Cool J

Not to be outdone by Timberlake’s foray into social media, the rapper launched a network that allows musicians to collaborate and record material on the web.

Users can work on tracks in real time and post their creations on the site or upload them directly to iTunes.

Sounds like a good idea, and is probably something MySpace should have thought of – the only downside is that LL named it BoomDizzle.

4. Lou Reed

The ageing rockstar, best known as the lead singer and guitarist in The Velvet Underground, has reinvented himself as a mobile app developer.

In 2009 he created an iPhone app that magnifies words on the screen to aid the visually impaired.

‘Lou Zoom’ is still available on the App Store at $1.99.

5. Ashton Kutcher

The actor is probably the most prolific online investor on this list.

Belying his goofy persona, Kutcher has made shrewd investments in numerous startups including Foursquare, Flipboard, Path and Airbnb.

One of the most lucrative was his 2009 decision to join an investment group that bought into Skype in a deal that valued the business at $2.8bn before selling it to Microsoft for $8bn.

6. Lady Gaga

The pop icon has proved to be a canny businesswoman, also with early investments in several startups.

She joined Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt in becoming a major shareholder in Backplane, a network designed to power online communities around specific interests, such as music or sports.

She was also part of a deal with fellow artist Kanye West that invested $7.5m in - a website that allows users to experience and discover music online with their friends.

As of September 2011, had been used by over 600,000 people and streamed 1m songs per day.

7. Leonardo DiCaprio

Continuing the trend for celebrity investments in social networks, in October the movie star contributed to the $4m raised for social media platform Mobli.

The site allows users to view photos around a particular topic or posted by a specific person - in the same way that most social networks do.

DiCaprio also took an advisory role in the company to help with marketing and PR.

8. M.C. Hammer

Not content with taking on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, Hammer went after Google.

In October the baggy-trousered rapper announced his investment in WireDoo, a search engine that includes ‘relational data’ in search results.

Hammer says that existing search engines don’t realise that when someone searches for a car they actually want information about the model, mileage, the specs and location.

It’s a bold move, and the problem for Hammer is that even if it does succeed Google will be able to copy it in a heartbeat.

9. Peter Gabriel

Yes, this list includes Peter Gabriel too. The former Genesis frontman is currently backing music streaming service we7 and recommendation engine The Filter.

The former company will struggle to take on Spotify, but The Filter has gained some high profile clients including NBC, DailyMotion, Warner Bros and Sony Music.

However Gabriel’s most successful e-commerce venture was in music download service On Demand Distribution.

After co-founding the company in 1999 Gabriel made a reported £10m when it was sold for $40m in 2004 – the site closed in 2009.

10. Will Ferrell

In 2007 Ferrell launched ‘Funny or Die’, which allows users to vote to either keep a clip on the site or get rid of it.

Using his Hollywood contacts the site has been able to obtain exclusive content from the likes of Judd Apatow, Jerry Seinfeld and Charlie Sheen.

The original landlord video has now clocked up more than 80m views and last year Funny or Die reportedly pulled in more than $30m in revenue.

David Moth

Published 27 January, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (7)

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Your description of Mobli shows you have no idea what their platform does. It's not a "social network", and it's nothing like other social networks. It's a genius platform that allows you to create a customized feed of visual information that is updated in real time. Nothing to do with "social networking". This is not a Facebook clone.

over 6 years ago


Wenke Wormski

Great, thanks for the Info! I had no cloue about LL investing in digital! --> Great choice! Digital is the future! Time to be a part of it! :)

over 6 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

@ Jake, thanks for your comment. I appreciate your obvious passion for Mobli, but if you read the site's own 'About' page it paints itself as a social media platform.

over 6 years ago

Jennifer Brabson

Jennifer Brabson, National Marketing and Social Media Manager at Onward Search

Hi, loved the article- sorry this is just a pet peeve of mine but you have a typo right - first sentence after JA's name (his --> THIS)

You can delete this too after you've read it ;)



over 6 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

Jennifer, thanks for pointing it out, it's annoying I missed such an obvious one! Have changed it now, but will leave your comment up in the interests of fairness ;)

over 6 years ago


Charles Harper

Boom Dizzle isn't supposed to sound good to marketing consultants. Only to musicians. I know you meant it tongue in cheek.

over 6 years ago



Thumb up!!!

almost 6 years ago

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