How do you top a 2012 that saw oversight of the year’s biggest tour (Madonna) and a portfolio of investments that included hot startups like SoundCloud, Shazam, Uber, Airbnb and Spotify?
If you’re Guy Oseary, you add the other record-setting touring act (U2) to your roster, and earn a valuation for your investment fund with Ashton Kutcher (A-Grade) estimated at $100 million—oh, and a deal with Live Nation and Paul McGuinness’ Principle Management worth $30 million to combine the two companies and manage U2’s future dealings.
“I’ve been a big fan of theirs since their start,” Oseary says. “I’m honored and humbled to have been welcomed into the U2 family.”
On the investment front, Oseary and Kutcher amped up their involvement with companies like Fab, Fancy, Box, Nextdoor, Houzz, Duolingo and Path, adding to a roster that includes three music companies (SoundCloud, Spotify and Shazam). It’s a pioneering model that inspired his colleagues Troy Carter and Scooter Braun, who are each raising funds of their own after years of building portfolios parallel to Oseary’s. “There are many disconnects between [Silicon] Valley and our industry, but that has allowed a big opportunity for Ashton and I to bridge that gap,” Oseary says. “I find challenges to be opportunities.”
Oseary’s personal investments outside of A-Grade also made some noise in 2013—like INDmusic, a YouTube multichannel network he co-founded with Machinima’s Allen Debevoise and former digital agent Brandon Martinez. The company helped monetize the meme of the year with Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” and Oseary and Madonna also have stakes in another YouTube MCN, DanceOn, which has amassed 2.9 million subscribers and more than 577 million views since 2011.
As U2 readies a new album for late spring/early summer and a reunion with longtime label Island Records, Madonna is preparing a return to the studio for the follow-up to 2012’s MDNA (“She’s eager to get started,” Oseary says), while he’s poised to take on an even broader role with Live Nation under Michael Rapino (No. 4). “We have a lot of great ideas and plans for the future. I’m excited for us to get started soon.”