Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio made a surprise guest appearance at SXSW for the Mobli 2.0 Launch Party, of which they are both investors in. Leo led a $4 million round in the photo sharing app and, Israeli-startup, Mobli. Other celebrities who came included Lukas Haas, Jared Leto and Kevin Connolly. Lance Armstrong is also on the Board of Advisors and the start-up has seen early celebrity adoption including David Arquette, Soleil Moon Frye (love her!), Paris Hilton, and Jaime King.
The Mobli party was a blast, although, to be honest, like many of the guests who were downloading it at the event, we were not exactly sure what Mobli was until we got there. I had heard some buzz around it but I am not personally too intrigued by the crowded photo-sharing app space (see our post on my thoughts on the biggest SXSW trends) and have a strong love and loyalty to Instagram. Although since creating a Mobli account, have had a lot of fun using it and especially see the value potential for brands.
Prior to the event, Tobey stopped by the lobby of the Driskill hotel (our favorite SXSW hang out spot) and was really friendly. Leo, on the other hand, came in later through the back entrance, with a baseball cap pulled low on his head, with his girlfriend, Victoria Secret model, Erin Heatherton. Although he did participate in a photo shoot with the team and other celebrity boosts (see our full SXSW photo album on Facebook for lots of the shots).
Mobli hopes to differentiate itself by focusing on filtering and organizing photos across different verticals such as people, places and topics (including food, music, fashion, sports, cars and more). Users can connect to Mobli with Facebook and share photos with friends, also all photos are geo-tagged with the option to be tagged through Foursquare. Similar to YouTube, it allows users to set up channels which others can follow, allowing users to access people who are typically inaccessible (like now you can stalk Leo and see what Lance had for breakfast this morning). Their tagline is ” See the World Through Other People’s Eyes.” The content comes directly from the user, so obviously a key success factor here is to maintain the momentum of interesting (celebrity) early adaptors who are contributing photos. The guest list at the SXSW launch party certainty helped this endeavor.
Leo is the latest celebrity to get in on the clelebrity tech investing trend, also on the list are singers Will.I.Am, Selena Gomez, and Lady Gaga. Ashton Kutcher is, of course, the big name in this celebrity tech ring with him and Ron Conway definitely leading the curation process among the Hollywood community. Ashton was noticeably missing this year, and despite the title of the post (and that Maguire is rumored to have made several other investments), my respect for Ashton has increasingly grown over the past couple of years and now consider him a serious tech investor versus celebrity fade.
A few years ago, he wasn’t taken too seriously in the start-up community, but Ashton has proved his passion for the the start-up space and innovation in consumer facing tech companies, and that he is not just a pretty (ok, gorgeous) face. I was really impressed by his talks at Techcrunch Disrupt SF and NYC last year, not only by his own personal experience in the tech world but by his modesty and admission to seeking out the advice of others and really getting to know a start-up prior to investing. In speaking with the Mike Arrington at the last TechCrunch
Debacle Disrupt (see our post the Downfall of Silicon Valley’s Biggest Bully, Michael Arrington), Kutcher blew off Arrington’s obnixious questions to share what makes him so passionate about investing in technology:
I realty think that technology has the greatest potential to accelerate happiness of most things in the world. The companies that will ultimately do well are the companies that chase happiness. If you find a way to help people find love, or health or friendship, the dollar will chase that. I realty think that technology has the greatest potential to accelerate happiness of most things in the world. The companies that will ultimately do well are the companies that chase happiness. If you find a way to help people find love, or health or friendship, the dollar will chase that.”
Love it. Check out more photos below on the event as well as here