How LinkedIn Helped Me Start A Platform To Invest In Celebrity-Founded Brands

Published: December 2nd, 2023
Scott van den Berg
Founder, CELEB
from Amsterdam, Netherlands
started January 2023
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My name is Scott van den Berg and I founded a company called CELEB.

For the past three years, I’ve been studying the creator economy space and have been fascinated by its growth and trends – and how they impact business as a whole.

I’m a big believer that celebrities and content creators will be the artisans of the most successful brands of the future. Seeing the early signs of this economic shift, I wanted to invest in these brands and give others the opportunity to do the same.

CELEB is an investment platform that allows accredited investors to invest in brands founded by celebrities and creators. Individuals can invest in celebrity/creator-founded brands with amounts as low as $2,500 per startup. We do the research and present them with the most promising investment projects, and they decide how much they’d like to invest.

Today we have about 150 accredited investors signed up on the platform interested in investing in brands founded by celebrities and creators. Our goal is to make an average investment of $200k per startup.

We just made the first investment in a venture studio that builds companies with the world’s top celebrities and creators.

Also, we have 10+ investment propositions in the pipeline that are founded by major A-list celebrities from the United States.


Before I invested time, money, and energy in pursuing CELEB, I first tried to validate the idea as clearly as possible.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Over two years ago, I founded another company called Influencer Capital, an organization that structures equity deals between startups and celebrities/creators.

Founding Influencer Capital has helped me build long-standing relationships with celebrities, creators, and their teams. Besides working with them on equity deals, they often reach out to me to ask if I could also invest cash into the companies they started themselves.

Getting into those deals isn’t easy. The competition is fierce. Many investors want to invest in brands founded by celebrities and creators, but few get the opportunity to do so. So my ‘aha moment’ came when I became aware of the privileged position I was in.

To succeed in business, you need to have such an unfair advantage. If I’d started CELEB two years ago, I probably wouldn’t have succeeded because I didn’t have access to celebrities and creators. So I didn’t have their trust and the credibility I have now having worked with them for over two years.

So that’s when the idea came about to start investing cash into celebrity/creator-founded brands. To validate the idea, I spoke to 50+ celebrity/creator-founded brands to see if they were looking to raise funding and if they wanted to do that via my network.

I also spoke to hundreds of angel investors to see if they’d be interested in joining the platform. I even ran a poll on LinkedIn to get some early feedback (screenshot below). I received a lot of positive feedback. That feedback was the validation CELEB needed. It was a sign that my idea was market-ripe.

Source: Scott van den Berg’s LinkedIn


Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

Initially, I wanted to raise a $20M VC fund to be able to invest in celebrity/creator-founded brands myself. Such a process typically takes six to nine months.

So I started to talk to investors and quickly found out that many of them required me to have a track record of previous investments in celebrity/creator-founded brands to qualify for an investment. I didn’t have that, so I began to think of different ways I could get started.

That’s when I realized that I have a lot of smaller angel investors in my network. The idea was to pool a lot of smaller investments into one and make a larger investment as a collective.

I started to talk to angel investors to see if they were interested in co-investing with me in brands founded by celebrities and creators. I got the first soft commitment and started to think about how to structure the deal.

What’s important to mention is that, before getting to this stage, I didn’t have anything other than a simple pitch deck. I didn’t even have a name, let alone a product.

To structure the deal, I needed a platform that got all the smaller tickets into one, made sure everyone signed the legal contracts, and closed the deal. I could build such a platform myself, but that also would have taken me months and a couple hundred grand. So that wasn’t an option.

That’s why I started looking for existing platforms to support my efforts and facilitate the first transaction I’m going to do via CELEB. That allows me to:

1) Get started much faster because I don’t have to build anything,

2) Not spend anything on building the ‘first’ product, and

3) Build a track record today that I can leverage later on to raise a larger VC fund.

You can only learn how to become an entrepreneur by actually being one. You can’t gain the benefits of doing push-ups by reading about it. You have to do it, and the same applies to entrepreneurship.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Before I officially launched CELEB, I talked to 50+ celebrity/creator-founded brands and about a hundred angel investors about my concept. They expressed interest before CELEB was even a real company. So when I officially launched CELEB, I already had early customers interested in my proposition.

I started researching similar investment platforms to see what their websites looked like and understand what needed to go on mine. Then I began to experiment in Canva to see what I wanted my website to look like.

Once I had a good idea of what I wanted, I reached out to a freelancer who helped me build the website for my other company, Influencer Capital. She built the CELEB website on Squarespace within one day. The total cost was $360, plus $15 a month for a Squarespace account.

Source: Homepage of CELEB Syndicate


Furthermore, we can keep the costs relatively low. As said, I started CELEB by using other platforms to facilitate the investments instead of building my own. The only costs I have are for software tools such as Squarespace and CRM systems.

Another thing that has helped me is LinkedIn.

For the past year, I’ve been posting content about the creator economy and celebrity brands on the platform. It has allowed me to become a thought leader in this space and build a significant following of 11,000 people today. Although 11,000 may not seem that much, it allowed me to drive near-instant traction to CELEB for free by simply posting about it on LinkedIn.

I leveraged that reach to share a link to a landing page where people can leave their email addresses if they are accredited investors and interested in participating in our investment proposition.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

LinkedIn has been a growth hack for me. On LinkedIn, I mostly talk about why I founded CELEB. I talk about my investment thesis and what I look for when investing in celebrity/creator-founded brands. Also, showing examples of good and bad celebrity/creators brands helps people better understand the space.

To keep things engaging, I also share content about many more topics related to celebrity/creator brands.

A lot of people interact with my content. It has resulted in me building a community of 11k followers and millions of views.

Source: Scott van den Berg’s LinkedIn


Not only that, LinkedIn has allowed me to build direct relationships and trust with potential clients. They see me as an expert on celebrity/creator-founded brands and believe that if I want to invest in a specific celebrity/creator-founded brand, I have good reasons for it. That makes them more confident in their decision to co-invest with me.

LinkedIn has helped me to build credibility in the space. Many people see me as a thought leader in the creator economy and celebrity brands. As a result, I’m often invited for interviews and podcasts that allow me to speak about CELEB even more.

Another channel I find efficient in spreading the word about CELEB is email. While social media allows you to get discovered and build that first connection with a prospect, email lets you take the conversation to the next level. Growing an email list is one of the smartest things a business owner can do.

Of course, you have to also be consistent with email. I keep all the investors that signed up regularly up-to-date via email. The CELEB newsletter updates them about new investment propositions and news about portfolio companies.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today CELEB has about 150 angel investors who signed up to the platform so they can invest in celebrity/creator-founded brands. Every day we onboard new investors interested in co-investing with us.

We just made the first investment in a venture studio that builds companies with the world’s top celebrities and creators. Furthermore, we have 10+ investment propositions in the pipeline – companies founded by major A-list celebrities from the United States.

In the upcoming two years, we want to scale to 1,000 angel investors to facilitate larger investments and increase their overall number. Our goal is to do 20 investments per year worth $20M.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I spoke about this earlier in the interview, but what was especially helpful for me was that I had an unfair advantage.

If I’d launched CELEB two years ago, success may have been impossible to achieve. I didn’t have connections to celebrities and creators, so I wouldn’t have been able to get into those deals. Plus, I wasn’t a thought leader on the creator economy and celebrity brands, so I didn’t have any credibility.

But today, things are completely different. Today I can get into those deals because I can leverage the work I’ve been doing with celebrities and creators for the past two years.

Another thing that has helped me is to validate the idea. Before I invested time, money, and energy in pursuing CELEB, I first tried to validate the idea as clearly as possible.

I ran a poll on LinkedIn, spoke to a few buddies of mine who are angel investors, and spoke to a couple of celebrity/creator-founded brands. This only cost me a couple of hours and zero dollars.

Every time I got positive feedback, I'd start to validate the idea even further. I only launched CELEB when 100+ interested angel investors signed up and when I gathered 50+ potential investment opportunities in the pipeline. If I’d only had angels or only had investment opportunities, I wouldn’t have been able to launch. I needed both.

So validating the idea and building relationships with potential early customers was very helpful.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I use a couple of platforms and tools to manage CELEB. To facilitate the investments, we currently use platforms like Sydecar, Angellist, and Odin. To manage and track the investments, I use Trello. I also use Trello to manage and track the angel investors. And lastly, I use Fiverr for gigs related to graphic design. All of these tools streamline processes, save me time, and let me keep track of every project.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The best book I ever read was “Delivering Happiness,” written by Tony Hsieh – founder of Zappos. It provided me with a unique view of how to build and scale companies.

Other than that, I get most of my input through LinkedIn. I recommend everyone to follow thought leaders in their respective industries and get the latest news and insights that way. I, for example, follow a lot of people in the creator economy and celebrity business space. I stay abreast of all that’s new and relevant and thus continue to expand my knowledge and vision.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

It might be cliche but just do it.

You can only learn how to become an entrepreneur by actually being one. You can’t gain the benefits of doing push-ups by reading about it. You have to do it, and the same applies to entrepreneurship.

Before CELEB and Influencer Capital, I started more than five other companies and most of them failed. Those failures taught me lessons I was able to use to build better companies later. And with every company, the idea was bigger and the execution was better.

Most entrepreneurs are waiting for that right idea or are postponing their launch because they want to update their website a little more. But they just have to go out to market with the most simple version of their product and see if it sticks.

I validated CELEB with nothing more than a pitch deck. I didn’t have a product, website, or name. I didn’t even have all the answers to the questions celebrity/creator-founded brands or angel investors would ask. But talking to people allowed me to see if I was onto something or not. And I was able to leverage that positive momentum and turn it into an actual company.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes, we’re looking to hire an investment analyst and a part-time CFO. The investment analyst will help me assess investment opportunities and write deal memos for our investors, while the part-time CFO is going to help me build financial models for my fund.

If anyone reading this is interested, reach out to me at [email protected].

Where can we go to learn more?

You can learn more about CELEB and sign up to become an investor with us on our website.

Also, if you’re drawn to the creator economy and celebrity brands, follow me on LinkedIn. Every day, I share my thoughts, news, and updates on the platform.

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!