News: Nas Isn't Stopping W/ His 40 Pricey Investments, God's Son Manager Lays Out Big '14 Plans

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 8:09PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Rap mogul Nas has bigger ambitions than making music these days as reports claim he has invested into 40 startup companies and has no plans of slowing down heading into 2014.

According to reports, Nasir Jones and manager Aymen Anthony Saleh have their hands in nearly 50 startups.

Over the past two years, Saleh and Nas have invested their own capital into 40 startups, including the Fancy, Coinbase, Rap Genius, Prism Skylabs, Zest Finance, Stance, mParticle, Proven, Earbits, Trendabl, Crowdtilt. They've made a healthy commitment -- more than 50 percent of their overall portfolio is now dedicated to startup investing. (For perspective, most institutional firms only allocate around five or ten percent of their overall portfolios to the risk-prone venture capital asset class.) They're not slowing down, either. Saleh says he and Nas plan to continue at their rapid pace, and if all goes well, they may follow in the footsteps of Lady Gaga's former manager, Troy Carter, who is raising a $75 million fund from institutional investors to back startups. (Pando)

Nas and Saleh were reportedly schooled on the business side of startups after investing into lyric-based website RapGenius.

When they invested in Rap Genius's $15 million round of funding, they met the team at Andreessen Horowitz, who led the round. Since then, Andreessen Horowitz has passed Saleh and Nas a number of deals, including Crowdtilt, Coinbase, and Prism Skylabs. The experienced investors at Andreessen Horowitz taught Saleh and Nas how to evaluate a team and its startup idea; and Partner Ben Horowitz is "like family" to Nas and Saleh, according to Saleh. The duo has also invested alongside Neil Mehta of Greenoaks Capital. Saleh and Nas have also backed 500 Startups' fund. Like any investor wanting in on the best deals, Nas and Saleh are all about the value-add. They're happy to give founders product feedback ("A lot of these entrepreneurs operate in this bubble and have misconceptions about what they're doing," Saleh says), while also adding Nas' star power where it makes sense, like with Rap Genius and Crowdtilt. (Pando)

Recent reports revealed Nasty Nas is setting up his very own sneaker outlet in Nevada.

Nas continues to quietly expand his business empire with a new sneaker store opening in Las Vegas. The retail spot called the 12A.M. Run will be located at The Caesars Casino Linq district. The open-air space is already home to a huge observation wheel, restaurants and other retail places. "My shoe store at The Linq in Vegas is coming soon!! Follow @12amrun! #12amrun Nas tweeted earlier this week, along with a video set to his "Made You Look" beat. Earlier this year on the business front, Nas invested some reported six figures in hip-hop magazine Mass Appeal as well as partnered with liquor company Hennessy and launched a clothing line called HSTRY. (RapFix)

Over the fall, "God's Son" touched on why his first run at the fashion industry did not go well.

"I saw the future of Esco being a $200 - $300 million company, but they didn't. Those guys didn't foresee the Sean John and Rocawear thing. They didn't foresee it because they just weren't in that head space. They didn't believe in it, so I left because I didn't believe in the direction. And through the years I've been wanting to do something here and there, but I didn't have the time. I knew it would come later down the road at some point. So I just waited till it felt like it was the right time." (Huffington Post)

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