Boybander, bar and nightclub owner, businessman, and entrepreneur are some of the many career hats Lance Bass has worn, but he’s looking to add another: investor in a billion-dollar company.
The NSYNC member has joined the new show Unicorn Hunters, from the creators behind The Masked Singer and premiering May 10, which presents the opportunity to industry movers and shakers to share a piece of the pie of the next big disrupter business.
In a way, the show is serving as a form of redemption for Bass, who’d already missed a chance to be an early backer of Uber. “I definitely am kicking myself,” Bass confesses to The Daily Beast, describing himself as a conservative investor. “I was like, ‘It’s very revolutionary and I think this could disrupt the taxi market.’ But my gut was like, ‘I don’t know, I’m just not ready.’”
Surprisingly, his decision couldn’t even be swayed by Britney Spears, who Bass says was the person who introduced him to the company in the first place.
“She was one of the first investors behind it,” he reveals. “I don’t even know if most people know that, but I learned all about it from her.”
Valued at around $80 billion, early investors in Uber made a windfall with the ride-share app, which went public in the spring of 2019. Actor Ashton Kutcher, a notable early investor in the Silicon Valley startup, and his partner turned their initial $500,000 investment into millions.
Spears, considering her Las Vegas residency, countless No. 1 songs, and sold-out tours across the world, has a surprisingly low net worth of $60 million, especially when taking into account her early investment in Uber. Currently, the pop star’s finances and how they are handled are under the microscope due to her conservatorship battle with her father, Jamie Spears.
But Bass is determined not to let another Uber slip by him again, joining Unicorn Hunters’ expert panel, called the “Circle of Money,” which includes Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, former U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, former White House adviser Moe Vela, and CEO of Livingston Securities Scott Livingston.
Similar to Shark Tank, investment seekers come on the show to present their companies to the powerhouse businessmen and women. But there’s a twist: Viewers aren’t just sitting on their couches watching the rich become richer, they also have the opportunity to back the companies pre-IPO—potentially turning a $100 investment into a whole lot more.
Much like the everyday viewer, Bass explains that he’s recently new to investing in these types of big firms, normally dealing with much smaller startups. He says he ended up investing in a few of the companies that appeared on the show.
For him to hand over his money, Bass believes that not only do the idea and numbers need to be impressive, but he also wants the founders to be passionate about their business.
Another important aspect for Bass when backing a company is if it’s eco-friendly. “Everything that I invest in, I always want to have some kind of giving-back element,” he says. “I’m a huge advocate for the planet, I’m an environmentalist. So, the companies that I love to invest in are the ones that are changing the world, the innovation that is going to save this planet.”
“There are some really great [companies] that you’re going to see,” Bass adds. “The standout for me is this UV light company that is going to help kill viruses and diseases by light, which is just perfect timing for what we’re going through in this pandemic. Bio farming is another big thing for me. There’s one product that is going to help us grow food in a non-GMO way, which will help solve so much of the hunger problems in this world.”
Ultimately, Bass is excited about being a part of the show because it prioritizes making investing accessible. It aims to help bring everyday people into the fold and break down the closed doors of Wall Street.
Pointing to the recent interest in stocks and investing due to Robinhood and the GameStop phenomenon, Bass says consumers “are finally realizing they have the power.”
“Look what’s happening in the NFT world right now, that is investing,” he maintains. “This young generation, they’re getting used to this and they’re realizing they do have so much power.”
“You don’t have to be on Wall Street to make money.”