French entrepreneur and angel investor Ben Guez loves investing in industries that do not fit his image.
Growing up in Nice, France in a modern Orthodox Jewish family. He moved to the USA to escape growing anti-semitism, and to watch Kobe play.
“Los Angeles was a dream for me, not really for the glamorous Hollywood but cuz I grew up as a Lakers fan and was a huge fan of Kobe,” Ben said, “I was getting tired of waking up at 4am to see them play so I decided to move here.”
It was supposed to be a quick trip but Ben decided to stay and launched a couple of successful businesses such as Laxir, a marketing agency with impressive clients such as Moët & Chandon and Lionsgate. He then co-founded with Eyal Cohen (Forbes 30 under 30) a real estate market tech Zentap valued at $15 million.
He then decided to open his own funds and start investing in ideas and startups that are pretty controversial and do not fit with his background.
Ben, who keeps Shabbat and kosher, invests in businesses that his community would be surprised by.
He launched kloe, a platform for CBD and cannabis brands to connect with their consumers, and recently invested in what we could call a “non-kosher” industry: OnlyFans.
“One of my former employees Brandon Nguyen contacted me one day,” Ben said, “ and he pitched me the idea of creating talent management for OnlyFan creators. A lot of creators are using the platform, not just sex workers and they need help to market themselves” “Cannabis has a bad image in Europe as it is still illegal in many countries but it is completely legal in LA, and OnlyFans in my opinion is the best platform for creators to finally be able to make money from their content on their own terms. Social media platforms have exploited creators for too long and it is time they get a bigger piece of the pie.”
They launched the Seiren agency and after a couple of months, they were already a 7-figure business.
So is Ben’s career the new S*x drugs and Rock and Roll? No, more like S*x drugs and Tok and Reels! Besides his business ventures, Ben is using his thick French accent to create funny videos and get millions of views on TikTok.
And got invited to talk about the challenge of having a French accent in the iconic TV host Carol Burnet” on her Netflix Show A Little Help.
What’s next for Ben? “As long as I believe in a project and can get excited about it I will want to help. No matter what industry it is. I am actually working on an app in the homeownership space and looking at some projects in the Metaverse.”
Guez’s most recent roll of the dice is Ekko, a Web 3.0 platform where content creators can easily sell their NFTs (non-fungible tokens) without the friction of using a digital wallet.
“Ekko is a platform for everyone—newcomers and extensively experienced crypto investors alike,” he says. “My plan is to presently scale it up to worldwide proportions.”
And when asked if he invests in projects without being afraid of being judged, he replies: “I love ideas, the crazier the better. I am looking to invest in ideas but overall in people, to quote Rob Siltanen — I am interested in . . . .
No judgment, no idea is crazy, no project is impossible. It’s the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
This article was written in cooperation with Ben Guez