Lionel Richie, the multi-platinum record selling singer-songwriter, has been bitten by the startup bug.
Richie is joining a slew of other prominent celebrity investors in Los Angeles and tapping some of his wealth to back young startup companies.
His first investment, in the healthcare startup, Heal, is a savor of more to come for the vocalist, who said that he was inspired by the energy and ingenuity coming from LAs newest industry technology.
Because developing a doctor-on-demand service that would allow personalized medical visits, booked through an app on a customers phone is exactly what a new healthcare startup should do, Richie told me. Especially one that merely charges $99 per visit.
For him, the Los Angeles-based company offered a return to the quality healthcare he was used to growing up in the small town of Tuskegee, AL.
If youre born and raised in Alabama in a small, tight-knit community, you know all the doctors, you know all the nurses No one mentioned satisfy me at the agency at 8 o clock on the morning and wait.
Instead, physicians would come to a home and diagnose and treat a patient.
The idea that technology and a new business simulate could be used to bring back a degree of service that has been long-gone from the U.S. healthcare system struck a chord with Richie.
When I met with Nick, he said Heres the pitch: we want to bring back affordable healthcare with physicians coming to the house in less than two hours, Richie mentioned of his first meeting with Heal founder Nick Desai. And I said are you kidding me from there it was pretty much a question of how could he pull this off? And when I realise they had actually drawn off the logistics of it, that was it It was pretty much what I love.
Normally, Richie doesnt talk a lot about his tech investing( he was an early investor in Microsoft ), but Heal and the startup world and entrepreneurial energy he represents, is something the singer can get behind.
Now, he wants to tell founders Hello. Hes wondering where you are, and meditating what the hell are you do, because if youve got a compelling mind for a business, hell back you.
Im going to let the secret out of the pouch, Richie told. This is my new pastime. I had a choice: do I play tennis on the weekends or do I call up my tech pals and say whats new? he tells me.
Over the past two years, Richie has get to know some pretty influential tech pals. The vocalist told me that he counts both Yuri Milner and Elon Musk as friends, and, in fact, it was Milner who got the multi-platinum selling, Grammy-winning, Oscar-winning, and Golden Globe-winning singer involved in the startup world.
Yuri is my entre, Richie told me. Yuri is the one who got me with the glitch I find that when I speak to him he has one one more fascinating thing to tell me after another.
Whats more, Richie no longer has to leave Los Angeles to find great startups, he said. Silicon Valley and its innovation is moving here. That invention is a new wave of creativity. And I cant help but want to be a part of that future.