- Sway Boys has invested in a company named ‘Lendtable’
- Josh Richards has invested in 4 companies
- Bryce Hall and Griffin Johnson have invested in 3 companies each
TikTok influencers Sway Boys have turned their eyes to angel investing, in addition to focusing on their successful social media careers. Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, and Bryce Hall, who have invested in several promising businesses, say they are “just trying to make smart investments.”
One of the companies the group recently invested in is Lendtable, which provides people with cash advances so that they can get their 401K match, which otherwise they would not be able to afford.
In a series of tweets earlier this month, Sheridan Clayborne, the co-founder of the company, spoke about why TikTokers becoming angel investors is a boon.
“They have massive networks… User acquisition is hard, user acquisition is expensive. They have a rabid fanbase and get millions of people to look at a product for free!!” he said in one of the tweets.
“They are all 18-22, making a million/year from nothing. Total uncapped potential. I’m just excited to be along for the journey and can’t wait to see what they do next,” Clayborne tweeted.
Richards, who has over 21 million followers on TikTok and 2 million subscribers on YouTube, has invested in four companies. Johnson, who has 9 million TikTok followers and 1 million YouTube subscribers, and Hall, with 13 million TikTok followers and over 2 million subscribers on YouTube, have invested in three promising companies each.
In an email interview to International Business Times, the Sway Boys spoke about this new phenomenon of TikTokers investing in startups and how to make use of the opportunity.
1. What is your view on this kind of investment?
Josh Richards: “I have been incredibly blessed to have been exposed to the venture capital community in full force over the last 12 months. From meeting Entrepreneur s Cory Levy and Gary Vaynerchuk in NYC last August to speaking with people like Alex Rodriguez and Hunter Walk to befriending amazing young founders like Alex Wang (CEO, Scale AI), Sheridan Clayborne (CEO, Lendtable), and Randeep Singh (Founder, AON3D), to working on projects with and being mentored by Sean Rad (founder, Tinder) and movie legend Ryan Kavanaugh, venture capital and Angel Investing is something I have been around, heard about, learned about, and been discussing every day. Jumping into it was the obvious next step for me and I am honored that the venture community has opened up to me and my friends with open arms. It’s always an amazing learning experience speaking with experienced angels/VC’s.”
Griffin Johnson: “It has been a blessing. Over the last week, I have been able to connect with some amazing people such as Sam Teller (Elon Musk’s former chief of staff), Cooper Hefner, Cory Levy, and Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano who have all given me amazing advice and guidance. I am glad that they have been willing to give me and my friends advice and support us. It means the world to me.”
Bryce Hall: “The feedback has been amazing. We’ve had the opportunity to speak with a bunch of well-known VC’s such as Hunter Walk and they were all really enthusiastic that we are being smart with our money and putting our capital to good use. I am working on a really cool project with Pomp that I am really excited to share with everyone soon. We are about to make history!!”
2. How do you plan to make the best use of this opportunity?
Richards: “The three words I think about every day are: Invest, invest, invest. Mark my words: our group will not stop until we find a unicorn early on and be a major asset in making them the next Uber. I am really humbled that founders have allowed us to invest early on and see in us what we see in ourselves: young, hardworking young adults that want to be a part of making the world a better place through innovation and technology.”
Johnson: “As long as we are in a position to invest, we will. Investing is like chess: always anticipating the competition’s next move. Getting to help young founders play the game of business and win is something I fervently enjoy.”
Hall: “For us, it’s about making sure we are being strategic but out there in the marketplace fighting to get into the most oversubscribed and exclusive deals.”
3. What is it that you see before you invest in businesses?
Richards: “It’s all about the founders and the scalability. The TAM (Total Addressable Market), SAM (Serviceable Available Market), and SOM (Share of Market) are really important metrics to me when investing. Assuming a business can scale, it’s all about making sure the founder(s) has what it takes to bring the journey home and create a return for their investors. Good ideas with bad founders often die a lonely death – it hurts when I see those types of deals because I know that with the right founder, it’s a grand slam. However, on the flip, good founders with decent ideas oftentimes will make me think of how I can help the founder in a real way to clean up the idea. Those founders often make unbelievable partners.”
Johnson: “We have really good VC’s and angel investors that we talk to for advice and send us deal flow. We are lucky that we are looking a the best founders, many of the deals being highly oversubscribed. Generally, because we are investing in pre-seed and seed, I look a lot into the founder to make sure they are going to be in high gear for 10+ years straight and make the right decisions. If I entrust you with my capital, it means I really believe in you and know you will be a good custodian of my capital.”
Hall: “I generally look for companies that I want to learn about. I made an investment into an aerospace company AON3D that I am really excited about. The founder of Y Combinator company is brilliant, and I was really excited to learn about the company, so, I put in some money and am proud to be on the journey with them. Their biggest competitor sold at a 97X multiple a few weeks back so that gives me signs that there could be really good returns here too. Another company I invested in is Lendtable. One of my business partners called me and said “Sheridan (CEO of Lendtable) is coming over this weekend and you need to meet him” so we sat down and he blew me away. He went to Northwestern at 15 and worked at Goldman Sachs. His idea for proprietary 401K lending is brilliant and something I know will take off. I am really proud to back two amazing young African American founders that will soon be one of the largest players in the 401K/FinTech community. I am proud to be an investor in their company and am excited to help in any way that I can.”
4. How much money do you stand to make from this?
All three: “Right now we are just trying to make smart investments that will pay returns down the line. We are all writing small personal checks right now and have enjoyed doing so. With help from our teams, we hope to be doing this for a very long time.”