Natalia Vodianova has invested in 20 tech start-up companies through her own firm Supernova.
Natalia Vodianova has invested in 20 tech companies.
The 38-year-old model - who married Antoine Arnault last month - and her business partner Timon Afinsky used their France-based company Supernova to pour money into various start-up firms including AI-drien yoga assistant Zenia, sleep app Loona, AR-driven shopping app Wannaby and simplified legal contract app, E-gree, over the last few years.
Natalia and Timon's tech investment began with their app Elbi, which turned the idea of social media likes into charitable donations.
The Russian beauty told WWD: "We suddenly opened ourselves up to this world of tech, just by diving into it and investing in Elbi and building it.
“We made so many mistakes, hired so many wrong people. In that sense there was a real learning curve. But some things we did really well.”
The pair were inundated with requests for helps by tech founders who struggled to market themselves as effectively as Elbi's "very, very loud" publicity campaigns.
Natalia explained: "A lot of founders have fantastic tech, very interesting companies scaling hugely with a large audience, but absolutely no brand and no visibility.
“That’s literally how it started. Then just word of mouth. Founders know each other.”
At one point, Natalia and Timon considered starting their own fund but ultimately decided against it because the workings would prove a drain on their limited time, though they haven't ruled out the possibility completely.
Natalia said: "Maybe one day if we feel like we really want to invest in a much bigger team, we’ll do it, but until then, it feels right to do it like this. We feel more free.”
For now, Supernova has a team of six working on investments while Natalia - who typically puts in between $25,000 to $100,000, earning around a 5% stake in a business - sits on the board of 12 companies.
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