ashton kutcher

Ashton Kutcher

Actor, producer, and investor at Sound Ventures

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 10, 2015


ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
Hi everyone, Ashton here. Very excited to be answering your questions today. Join me for a conversation around startup funding, the future of technology, and more. Ask away!
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Ashton! Welcome. 😄 Mobile radically changed the way people interact with each other. What emerging technology do you see having the biggest impact on the way we communicate and build relationships in the future?
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@rrhoover sup ryan. I think that a lot of the big shifts in consumer mobile have been taken on by disruptors. much of the innovation moving forward will be around the edges. However occasionally there are step change innovations that present opportunity. I think there are some emerging mesh tech/ communications companies like Jott that have a chance to disrupt. I also believe that the wearable stuff is just at it's infancy. big shifts will come around voice commands and different light weight frictionless input. (wish I had that now... I'm a slow typer) (-:
Michael Boswell
Michael Boswell@michael_boswell · Founder/CEO, Cue. Design Lead, FB/GOOG.
@rrhoover Really surprised there was no mention of VR here.
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@aplusk thanks Ryan that was awesome
Yvan Scher
Yvan Scher@yvanscher · Court Jester
@aplusk It's nice to see someone else doing something in this space other than firechat / opengarden. Did you invest in Jott?
ⓂMatt hartman
ⓂMatt hartman@matthartman · partner @betaworks
@aplusk -- it seems to me that two of the significant benefits you bring as an investor are your celebrity and your experience building your own brand. do you think your involvement in a startup is more beneficial earlier in the company's life, where your experience building your brand may be more relevant, or later when the company needs to grow and your celebrity can help increase awareness.
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@matthartman I think the celeb and branding aspect is really only a small portion of what we do. In fact if I feel a company is only interested in that I generally choose to not invest. Celeb endorsement isn't gonna make anyones product better. We focus heavily on helping companies grow. Sometimes that comes in the form of shaping the brand and the messaging but more often than not its about really understanding the customer conversion channels. I think where the celeb thing comes in handy is in being vocal when companies come up against regulation or simply getting a return phone call from a strategic BD situation.
Eli K.
Eli K.@eli_s_kami ·
@aplusk preach it
Matt Turney
Matt Turney@turneycreative · Designer, Marketer, and Entrepreneur
@aplusk ill uproot that, but it would seem that it could add some steam to a launch?
alex kwon
alex kwon@alexyoungkwon · oneminute
@aplusk Is there any social product that you use as "Ashton" compared to the "celebrity Ashton?"
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@turneycreative no question there is value add on getting eyes on iterations but that's secondary
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
@aplusk was this intentional? 😜
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@nivo0o0 haha, I remember when I first saw this. Someone tweeted, "nice cameo in Ashton's Lenovo commercial!" 😜
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
@rrhoover nice cameo indeed :)
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
Kamil@kamilszybalski · Growth Entrepreneur. Was @Hootsuitelabs
@aplusk Thanks for doing this and welcome! I wanted to ask what you're currently reading and what's on your bookshelf.
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@kamilszybalski I'm currently reading an advanced copy of a book call "the lucky years" by dr david agus
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@aplusk tried to attach a selfie but it failed
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
You recently got married to long-time friend Mila Kunis (congrats!!) (1) What's your take on the meaning of long-term commitment/marriage? (2) And what things are *absolute requirements* for making one work?
Alex MacCaw
Alex MacCaw@maccaw · Founder of Clearbit
How do the film and startup financing ecosystems differ?
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@maccaw roi !
James McBennett
James McBennett@mcbennett · Designer
@aplusk saw architect Bjarke Ingels was asked about his tech investing recently. Was interesting how he said web had adopted many words from construction such as the obvious 'site'. But then said more importantly, ROI. Buildings take so long and can't be repeated.
Jeff Needles
Jeff Needles@jsneedles · Data @ Houseparty & Maker of Things
@aplusk HEY! I'm super curious about your transition from hollywood to silicon valley? What is the starkest contrast you've seen between the worlds? What has been the most similar? 😎
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@jsneedles The biggest contrast is that there are no middle men in the valley. The film industry is filled with agents, managers, and execs, that in many cases are just professional introducers that take a cut. Don't get me wrong there are people who do that job that are very good, very creative, and very effective but I find the valley to be refreshingly level and blunt. I also think the valley is far more willing to take big risks on the unknown. The film industry has become littered with copy cats and studios playing it safe with the same product just different costumes. While both are creative places filled with creative people, I think there is a social dynamic an Hollywood that fuels a very different creative process. And because projects here are 6-18mo endeavors you are far more likely to run into someone and say "hey lets work together on something" and then actually do it. There are more creative collisions here.
Alex Wolkov ☭
Alex Wolkov ☭@altryne · UX, Front End
@aplusk I'm one of the early employees at @fundbox, a start up you recently invested in. I wanted to ask you, why did you choose a fintech startup in general and Fundbox specifically to invest in.
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@altryne Fundbox is an amazing company. To list all the reasons would take the rest of this session but ultimately it comes down to the math adding up, the need for this solution, the competency of the team executing it, and the fact that I believe we have some unique access in underserved industries in a way that we can be significant value add investors.
Alex Wolkov ☭
Alex Wolkov ☭@altryne · UX, Front End
@aplusk thank you very much for answering! I'm personally very exited to have you on as an investor.
Tom Redman
Tom Redman@redman · Technical Product Manager, Buffer
@altryne @aplusk "exited" > The best kind of freudian slip!
Natalya Matyushenko
Natalya Matyushenko@ambercamel · Co-founder/COO at Spycob
@aplusk Hi Ashton, Do you personally meet with startup founders before/after investment? To discuss the project, to share your knowledge or smth like this? How do you support founders beside the money, and do you?
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@ambercamel I try whenever possible to meet the founders prior to investment. There are some cases where there have been logistical challenges that have not allowed that. That being said I believe it's our business the know not only the business but most importantly the people. Eric Schmitt once told me "life is who you travel with" and I couldn't agree with that statement more. The reason I invest is not to make money or to "change the world" is to meet and spend time with bright, creative, innovative, driven people that care about other people. Making money and changing the world is the exhaust of care and compassion for other people and the ingenuity and guts to do something about it.
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@aplusk We help companies in a variety of ways. Marketing, Crisis PR, product, hiring, lobbying, helping to find syndicate investors, thinking through issues, Biz Dev, sponsorships, Coaching, networking, What ever our founders need we are willing to do our best to step in.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@ambercamel Ashton's an investor in Product Hunt and I can point to emails where he's reached out to help with specific opportunities. The best investors don't wait for you to ask for help; they're proactive.
Alex Romanenko
Alex Romanenko@2for1inc · CEO, 2for1 inc
@aplusk It's very important to invest in founders not only money. Unfortunately even to buy "brain" (I mean professionals to your team) you need also have the brain, and just money won't help)))
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell ·
@aplusk When are you planning on giving @bhorowitz a run for his money with your own book "Dude, where's my unicorn?" - I'll help with your launch ;)
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@bentossell I look so far up to Ben I can see the bottom of his feet.
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell ·
@aplusk thanks...but what about Ben Horowitz ;)
Suzy Ryoo
Suzy Ryoo@suzywillow · Atom Factory & Cross Culture Ventures
Heyo @aplusk. We met briefly at CES this past year, thanks for speaking briefly about authenticity+brands with OMD/Omnicom. Now a new early-stage investor with Troy over at Atom Factory... If you had one piece of advice from your earliest days investing, what wisdom might you impart? Thanks for joining LIVE on Product Hunt + much respect from Culver City ^.^
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@suzywillow Always assume that you are not the smartest person in the room. Then ask for help. On most deals I ask the founder to explain their company like they are talking to a high school student. But explain everything! This is effective for multiple reasons. 1. you really learn what the company does, how it works, why it works. 2. you get smarter 3. you learn if they really understand their company and product and can sell it to other people Listen to the silence, What does the founder not want to tell you? Then ask that question. The second thing I do is ask for help. I don't know if I've ever done a deal with out reaching out to a field expert in the space we are investing in. I also ask them to explain it to me in super simple terms. Always do competitive landscape analysis know what metrics are important and study them Pray for luck.
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@aplusk one last thing. Ask not what their company can do for you but what you can do for their company!!!!!
alex kwon
alex kwon@alexyoungkwon · oneminute
@aplusk 🙌🏻That's the Sillicon Valley version of JFK's quote ''Ask not what your country can do for you - Ask what you can do for your country"
Craig Stanford
Craig Stanford@craigstanford · Co-Founder & VP of BizDev @ StageHound
@suzywillow Nice to see you here and congrats on your freshman class at SMASHD LABS!
Brady@bradyoriginal · Founder @ Modimize Inc.
Hello Ashton! I am humbled at the opportunity to ask you a question! Many investors look at the qualities in a founder or founders along side the startup itself. In a fast paced digital world, a face to face meeting is rare. Q: A. How do you gauge the qualities of a founder or founders? B. What is the best way to approach a specific investor if their qualities are in line with yours?
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@iambradyrichard I'm looking for founders with Grit, people who don't give up, people with the execution ability in whatever space they are disrupting, people I'd be willing to work for, people who are flexible, leaders, good communicators, people who know their company inside out. I always ask my team, if we got a call at 1am from this founder needing something are you going to be happy to pick up the phone and jump in. The way we assess this in diligence is different every time but it comes down to asking a ton of questions (not just about the business). But we don't just trust our judgement we try to find people who know them or have worked with them and get third party help. Driven people with great ideas find a way to investors. I'm approached all the time at events or even in elevators. I get cold calls and cold emails and I or someone on my team takes almost all of them. The one thing I would suggest is, don't be disruptive, be polite, get to the point and expect 2 answers YES or NO. If it's no find out why and fix it then reengage. Everyone you want to work with EVER is busy.
Brady@bradyoriginal · Founder @ Modimize Inc.
@aplusk - Thank you Ashton! Greatly appreciated! This advice will be put to use!
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Ashton! You've taken it upon yourself to invest in great companies and also and do great philanthropic work through your foundation. Obviously you love it and believe it's important - do you also think celebrities/people in power have a certain social responsibility?
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@eriktorenberg I think we all have a certain social responsibility. I remember 8 years ago watching Bono and thinking, that's what I want to do. I want to use my platform to impact peoples lives in any way I can. I'm not at that level yet, but at least now he's mentoring me and we are starting to make some progress. BTW please check out if you get a chance. We have an amazing technology coalition helping us build some great software for good.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@aplusk huge fan of what you and the Thorn team do! We'd love to promote their work here on PH.
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
What are 2-3 of the moments in your life that have most shaped the person you are today, and what meaning do you give them in hindsight?
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@melissajoykong 1. 13 yo -My Twin brother had a heart transplant. That experience opened my heart to truly loving another person. 2. 18 yo- I got put in jail for 3rd degree buglary (felony offense). This taught me that the rules applied to me too 3. 25yo- my brother said to me "every time you feel sorry for me you make me less." This gave me perspective that the life and experiences one knows is theirs (the only one they know). The line between care and judgement is thin and constantly in need of being evaluated. 4. 25 yo -I got fired from a movie by a big director. That made me aware what mattered in my life, and reset my work ethic. 5. 37 yo -I had a baby. I learned what unconditional really meant. There are more but I gotta split. It's been real! Thanks so much for you questions. Thanks so much for being you!
MARK GREENWOOD@markgreenwood5 · Retired
@aplusk Hi, I just began to follow you on twitter. Your 5 life changing events are quite moving and profound. I am happy for you. In watching two and one half men, I watched you grow and mature very quickly, especially as the show wound down. I think you are a very sound and solid person and I wish you many years of happiness with your new found family. You seem like a real nice guy; a gentleman...something not so easily nurtured in today's Hollywood. Hope some day I see you back on the screen. Take care Ashton.
Martin Bavio
Martin Bavio@mbavio · Full Stack Designer
@aplusk Why did you get into the startup & technology world?
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell ·
@aplusk What 20% of your inputs, produce 80% of your outputs?
jeff slobotski
jeff slobotski@slobotski · founder, router ventures
What tips + advice would you have for a startup who's heads down building a great company outside of the traditional tech communities but working to take things to the next level (raise additional outside capital, attract more national customers, etc...)
ashton kutcher
ashton kutcher@aplusk · founder Sound Ventures, Aplus
@slobotski I think it starts with making a great product that solves a real problem in an innovative way. There is a company called companion that I talked to today based in Michigan that is crushing it out of the gates. He just built a great product and it's working. Meanwhile he's getting international pick up and growing at a clip. Financing will come to you, you don't need to go to it. He's building a killer team of devs right out of Michigan U and doesn't have to pay the competitive valley rates because the cost of living is so much less. I think innovation can happen anywhere you just have to dream big. go OMAHA!
Seth Louey
Seth Louey@sethlouey · 🙌 2017 & 2016 Maker of the Year Nominee
@aplusk Same with the Tech community in Saratoga Springs, NY. :)
Seth Louey
Seth Louey@sethlouey · 🙌 2017 & 2016 Maker of the Year Nominee
@danoliverlandy There is a huge community within the Capital Region! You should check it out, you'd be surprised what you might find in central NY. :)
Marko Islamovic
Marko Islamovic@marko_is · Founder @ Gigrove
Hi Ashton, since you are an investor in Uber & Airbnb, I have a question related to sharing economy apps: Usually, users of those kind of apps need to start dealing with completely unknown folks, so what do you think, what is the biggest reason/motivator for them to break the barriers and to start to interact with the product in such open manner? Is it a social object (belonging to the app's community) or it's just a benefit that they can get from the exchange?
Jack Dweck
Jack Dweck@jackdweck · Product Manager at Unroll.Me
Hey Ashton! What’s the most important thing you learned from being a guest shark on this season’s Shark Tank?
Corley@corleyh · COO @ Product Hunt
Ashton - thanks for making the time! What is one of your interesting life's lessons that you draw on when making decisions?
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Since you've been in the mind of Steve Jobs for a while, and since many of us have been thinking about his do you approach your own? What do you want people to say at your funeral?
Jay Surovy
Jay Surovy@jaysurovy · CEO of SportPass
@aplusk what kind of tech startups (segment) do you find most intriguing nowadays and why ?
@aplusk Do you watch the show 'Silicon Valley'? Are you ever going to make an appearance on there? If not, how would you feel about a character based on you?
Clément@clemkn · Co-founder, Nalyze
@aplusk Hi Ashton, thank you to be there! What's the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to bed ?
@aplusk can you tell us a little bit about your Bitcoin investments and where you see the industry going in the future!
Marta Plaza
Marta Plaza@marta_plaza · Desire42
The tech dating sector is kind of saturated, Tinder being probably on top. How do you see the couples' market? Half of americans have a partner or are married or crazy in love. That's a huge market. Do you think that there is something big to happen there? We haven't seen a big tech compay taking the lead here. What do you think? Thanks @aplusk!!
Jeff Jackel
Jeff Jackel@jeffreyjackel · Founder
@aplusk Our company, Buzzmob, is a cross-platform communication tool in the edtech space. We're confident we offer a superior product to our big competitors but they're all playing the FREE game while we're charging teachers and schools to not undervalue our product. Even with a better product/experience, how can you really compete against free? Must you go free and land-grab before putting out a paid premium model? Do you believe in one model over another and why?
Andreas Klinger
Andreas Klinger@andreasklinger · Tech at Product Hunt 💃
Do you see apps (and digital product in general) as a product of our culture - like movies/music or other creative products? If yes what lessons can startups take from those other aspects of culture? If no where do you see the strongest differences
Ashley Laurel
Ashley Laurel@ashleylaurel · Analytics & SEO @ Accenture
@aplusk What are your tips on creating a healthy work/life balance?
Calvin Pappas
Calvin Pappas@4cal · PM of Privacy @ LinkedIn
@aplusk what's your take on the Midwest as a place to start and/or run a startup? I know you've had some investments (primarily Dwolla) in the area, but what are you're overall thoughts?
Inna Semenyuk
Inna Semenyuk@innavation · Founder,
Hi @aplusk what's the best place to launch a startup in? (which city has the best startup ecosystem in your opinion)
Sachin Agarwal
Sachin Agarwal@sachinag · Principal PM, LaunchDarkly
If I remember correctly, you were studying biomedical engineering (or on track to) at University of Iowa while you were the nation's top male model, all before you decided to go to Hollywood to act full time. If you stayed at Iowa City and graduated, where do you think you'd be now?
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell ·
@aplusk How do you have time for it all? @msuster wrote a piece recently on this. Do you stick to a routine?!
Dan Li
Dan Li@kittylover34 · Product Lead, Shopbolt
@aplusk What do you look for most when evaluating a pitch? The founders or the product/market fit?
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@aplusk What does your average day look like? How much time do you allocate to meeting with founders, spending time with the family, or working on side-projects/hobbies of your own?
Mauro Sicard
Mauro Sicard@maurosicard ·
@aplusk Hi there Ashton! My question is the following: Now you are an investor, in which companies/startups are you interested to invest in ?
Some Guy
Some Guy@ghobs91 · Head Of Winging It, Denarri
@aplusk Sup Ashton. Where do you see mobile shopping going in the next 5 years?
Will Fry
Will Fry@williamrfry · Building @SolutionLoft, Studying @Penn
@aplusk what role do you think virtual reality will play in the next 10 years (what's the value prop)? How will it be used in relation with augmented reality?
Matti Heubner
Matti Heubner@mattiheubner · Marketing at Iris Health
if you could exchange with someone else for one day. Who would it be?
The Qbium
The Qbium@qbium
@aplusk interest in bitcoin seems to be exploding in the financial sector, with a particular interest in using blockchain technology for the clearing and settlement of stock trades. Could your describe your investment thesis regarding crypto-currencies?
alex kwon
alex kwon@alexyoungkwon · oneminute
what do you enjoy more, acting? investing? :)
Steve Pappas
Steve Pappas@sxp01 · SVP, Panviva, Inc
Could you describe your methodology for evaluating and ultimately investing in a startup. What are the most important criteria for you to get interested in moving forward?
Daniel Landy
Daniel Landy@danolandy · 📚Babson Student
@aplusk what was the first startup investment you made and what made you want to enter startup investing?
Hesham Ghandour
Hesham Ghandour@heshamghandour · Co-Founder
Hi @aplusk, do you see a vertical in the ride sharing space that is still untapped?
Thomas Alford
Thomas Alford@thomasalford33 · Financial Services I Brand I Marketing
@aplusk, Shake Shack or Umami? And... what startup should everyone be talking about tomorrow? What's their value laddering comprised of and what functional problem is it solving?
Tigran Hakobyan
Tigran Hakobyan@tiggreen · 💻@buffer & 🚀
Hi (здравствуй - I know you're learning Russian haha) @aplusk! Great to see you here. What is the single most important life lesson you have learned so far?
Marty McFly
Marty McFly@mcflyinthechi
@aplusk How hard is it to sustain a successful marriage when you and your wife are so powerfully independent?
Dwight Torculas
Dwight Torculas@dorculas · Founder at Smoothie Fund
@aplusk what do you think about crowdfunding?
Chandra Kalle
Chandra Kalle@chandrakalle · Maker
What apps do you currently have on your home screen?
Why aren't there more female tech entrepreneurs?
Samara Gordon
Samara Gordon@samara_gee · Founder, The Faster Times
@aplusk Invest, kill, marry: bitcoin, VR, renewable energy (let's say solar)?
T. Nguyen
T. Nguyen@constantx
@aplusk How do you get expose to new interesting companies?
Karan@iamkaransetiya · Founder, Veduo
Hi @aplusk! Do you think that an organization with a social mission (not-for-profits) can compete in the highly competitive marketplace where maximising shareholder value is often priority number one?
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@aplusk When you invest, how much are you betting on the "jockey" (Founder/Team) vs. the horse (Idea/Business model)?
Anne-Laure Le Cunff
Anne-Laure Le Cunff@anthilemoon · Entrepreneur
@aplusk The tech industry is currently heavily male, caucasian dominated. What are some initiatives you think could remedy to this lack of diversity?
meirav goshen
meirav goshen@meirav3400 · Secretary in a lawer office
Where do you think we get 10 years in terms of technology
Sydney Liu
Sydney Liu@sydney_liu_sl · Co-Founder of
@aplusk Hi Ashton! Thanks for doing this AMA today and sharing your knowledge with the world. What is the best piece of startup-specific advice you have ever received? I know you always focus value on handwork as life value. Would love to hear the advice you share for startups. Best, Sydney
Joshua L. Gilbert
Joshua L. Gilbert@jerzsleevz · JerZ-SleevZ, Founder
Hi Ashton, Thank You for doing this :) we are #VetOwned FUNctional Wearable Tech JerZ SleevZ . Do you support any Veteran programs at the moment? #Vets1st
Pavel Liskin
Pavel Liskin@zabudun
@aplusk do you feel there is any potential disrupt opportunity in sport and wellness or we are stuck in wearables and IoT there?
Greig Cranfield
Greig Cranfield@greigcranfield · UX Researcher & Product Strategist
Hey bro. Thanks for taking the time out to do this. You said a few years back you used lot's of jobs as stepping stones to get you further on (along those lines), is acting your passion or do you think of it as another step that's lead you now to discovering investing and do you want to build a startup or product from scratch with a team? Cheers
Greig Cranfield
Greig Cranfield@greigcranfield · UX Researcher & Product Strategist
@1greigcranfield @aplusk Also, what industry would you personally love to get stuck in and disrupt?
Nikhil Krishnan
Nikhil Krishnan@nikillinit · Tech Analyst, CB Insights
@aplusk what made you move into an engineering role at Lenovo?
Martin Skakala
Martin Skakala@mskakala · Founder & CEO
Hi Ashton, thanks for doing the AMA! What do you think, in your opinion will mostly impact & transform our future - how we live, do things, behave or do business in next 15-20 years?
Pranav Pandit
Pranav Pandit@pranavpandit
@aplusk Hey there. No question...just wanted to say thanks to you, Brad and Cory for your help a few months ago on trying to pull something together for Huggies/Father's Day. Didn't work out but your guys were great to work with. Hoping we can do something special in the near future.
Suzy Ryoo
Suzy Ryoo@suzywillow · Atom Factory & Cross Culture Ventures
@pranavpandit What up, Pranav! :) Good to see you on Product Hunt!
Bart Sullivan
Bart Sullivan@bartshansu · Professional Patent Agent
Ashton - I am a patent professional. I notice that many startups ignore IP until much too late in the process. Is there a reason that many startups ignore IP and what advice would you given them?
Corey Stone
Corey Stone@coreywstone · UX guy, Founder of HERO Keyboard
@aplusk Hi Ashton. I grew up in Iowa City and on Ox Yoke Inn trips with my parents, I remember thinking "People really live here?" :) How do you think growing up in that setting affected you? Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Abenezer Mamo
Abenezer Mamo@mamo_abenezer · Product Manager at Zoosk
@aplusk Why got you into the tech scene?
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@aplusk What aspect of the "Hollywood" industry, if any, do you think prepared you, proved to be beneficial to you, or gave you an advantage over most investors in the start-up world once you got involved?
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hey Ashton! Thanks for joining us today :) What has been your hardest career/work decision? Do you have a process for making tough decisions? Thanks!
Noah Buscher
Noah Buscher@nhbschr
Do you see yourself first as an actor or investor? Do you pride being in one career field more than another?
Aaron Hassell
Aaron Hassell@vg_aaron · COO, Infiniscene
@aplusk What are your thoughts on the live streaming space, its effects on the traditional broadcast industry, and do you think its a viable long-term industry​ for investment?
Danny Espinoza
Danny Espinoza@abcdannye · Founder @looksyvideo
@aplusk As an investor, what excites you more? The technological advances in mobile hardware? Or the potential for software on such hardware?
Seth Louey
Seth Louey@sethlouey · 🙌 2017 & 2016 Maker of the Year Nominee
@aplusk Hey Ashton, what do you see for the future of A Plus? Society is so negative and having a platform for positive information hopefully can change that.
Daniel Landy
Daniel Landy@danolandy · 📚Babson Student
@aplusk I saw the Man in the Machine and you have played the role of Jobs. Should he be admired as a person or only for his achievements?
Glen Cochrane
Glen Cochrane@glenfcochrane
@aplusk In your mind, what are the biggest ethical concerns for tech startups today?
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell ·
@aplusk What startup/app have you recommended most recently to a friend that you would back yourself (if you haven't)?
Stuart McCroden
Stuart McCroden@mccroden · (undefined)
@aplusk Privacy is a huge issue with all the things happing (snowden, companies' security vulnerabilities, etc). **Do you think users will ever be able to own their data?** Owning the data implies that I determine who has access to my data and have full control over revoking that access.
ScriptBook@scriptbook_io · CEO
Howdy! ScriptBook from Belgium here. Thanks for the AMA today. As a producer would you base your greenlighting decisions on an algorithmic decision support system that forecasts box office performance using only a film script as input? Or do you believe technology is incapable of comprehending the creativity of storytelling.
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@aplusk What influences your decision to invest/not invest in a company when you're pitched? Are there any "tells" you look for that generally guide your decisions to invest/not invest? · Founder,Socialblood
@aplusk What are your thoughts on impact investing?
Soph 🤓
Soph 🤓@sophmoji · Emoji Queen 🐱💵🍃.ws
@aplusk Hi Ashton, You were involved with several different fields over the course of your career, from engineering and modeling, film, TV shows to investing. What lessons from your various past experiences do you think were transferable in starting A-Grade investments? Also, how did you know that Guy O'Seary was the right partner for you? Thank you for taking the time to answer! Best, Sophia
Will Reeves
Will Reeves@willreevessays
Chris Sacca invests in founders that do their dishes. What's your litmus test for a good founder? In my own fundraising no ones asked me about my dishes, only my data.
Juan Antonio Karmy
Juan Antonio Karmy@jkarmy · Maker | Engineer | Musician
Coming from the movie industry, was it hard for you to get inside the VC industry? Did you get advise from other VCs? And lastly, did you get scrutinized by the industry, feeling like you needed a home run to show you had the chops for the job?
Marta Plaza
Marta Plaza@marta_plaza · Desire42
Hi @aplusk again :) Do you advise the companies you invest in? Do you use all apps/tech you invest in? Are you user of them? Would you play a mobile fun sex game with your partner?
Koji Kanao
Koji Kanao@twelvejapan · Web/iPhoneApp dev/legal tech startup
@aplusk Hi Ashton, you are very successful as an actor and investor. If you could choose any kind of job, what would you do? By the way, I like "The Butterfly Effect"!
Anna Roubos
Anna Roubos@annaroubos · Founder, Table Public Relations
@aplusk on a scale of 1 to Mila, how much do you love Product Hunt?
David Singer
David Singer@singer · Product person
@aplusk Do you feel you were taken seriously in the tech world from the start? Was there a moment for you where you went from a celebrity user of tech to the influencer you are now? Or do you feel it was a gradual progression?
Enric Enrich
Enric Enrich@enricenrich · Software Developer • Maker of Veern
Hi @aplusk, really excited to have you here answering our questions. I have a few questions. · How did you start to be interested on the startup world, and why? · What do you think about importance that privacy started to have on the last years, and being used as a way to promote an app? · Do you have a preferred place to start a startup? What do you think about remote working on startups? · Any suggestion to young people that wants to be an entrepreneur? And to end, just ask you if you have any way of contact where people can ask you questions or tips and tricks to keep progressing with their ideas.
Drew Greenfeld
Drew Greenfeld@drewaustin · CEO of Wade & Wendy
Hi @aplusk, do you feel as an investor, with a substantial reach and consumer influence, you could add value to an enterprise or B2B company, as much as you can with a consumer product?
joanna@joannapantages · Founder,
@aplusk what unique insights do you think you have when viewing startups that purely tech people/investors cannot see as easily (or at all)?
Rasanjit Saran
Rasanjit Saran@rjsinghsaran · Co Founder CEO @ Boone
Eli K.
Eli K.@eli_s_kami ·
@rjsinghsaran If you can't juggle school & your billion dollar startup, then you're not ready to fight the necessary fight. Stay in school.
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@eli_s_kami That's probably one of the worst pieces of advice I've ever heard. @rjsinghsaran Be realistic, don't bs yourself. If it's getting enough traction to warrant dropping out in order for you to focus on it full-time (How necessary is it to go full-time? Are investors reaching out? Is it growing at all, and by how much?) then I'd say go for it. You can always go back, your college won't disappear into the ether anytime soon.
lulo@lulomx ·
@aplusk How important is good Design when choosing the companies you invest in?
Pearl 21
Pearl 21@pearltwoone · Founder, Pearl 21
Hey there @aplusk! In your experience, what is Hollywood's general attitude towards Silicon Valley and tech in general? Is it characterized by indifference, optimism, pessimism, or something else entirely different?
Sūti Gliteri
Sūti Gliteri@suti_gliteri
@aplusk Hi, greetings all the way from Latvia. What is the single best advice you can give to a young person wanting to start a succesful carrer in IT?
James McBennett
James McBennett@mcbennett · Designer
@aplusk I loved your talk about Carl G. Fisher some years back. Who are your heroes past and 2015?
Samara Gordon
Samara Gordon@samara_gee · Founder, The Faster Times
@aplusk why doesn't Sound Ventures have a website?? What's that all about?
J. David Rysanek
J. David Rysanek@daverysanek · founder
Hey Ashton, greetings from Czech. You invested in many startups. What is your greatest asset for them (besides money)? And what was the best? Thanks and congratulations to your marriage.
joanna@joannapantages · Founder,
@aplusk why the h*ll would they make another steve jobs movie? And (in your opinion) is it people's fault that replicating the same stories over and over "works" at box office to makes that $$$ or is probably moreso because of studios and aggressive marketing budgets/distribution?
Rhai@rhaivimies · Pulling the future forward @Sounds_app 🚀
@aplusk Bonjour! What would be your competitive advantage as an investor into a music startup ?
Zsolt Farkas
Zsolt Farkas@mrfarkas91 · Head of Marketing
@rhaivimies I think he literally knows everybody :D I guess it is a good start
Vladimír Morávek
Vladimír Morávek@vladimirmoravek
hi @aplusk, it is really honor to have chat with you, I appreciate that. I have a few questions. What is your very first memory from your childhood? When it was? Can you remember it clearly? If it was possible, would you like to go through it again? Would you like to know what was before your first memory and you don't remember it? @ben_but
Krishna Dahal
Krishna Dahal@abhkes_krishna · Co-founder @ Algebra, Inc.
Hi Ashton, I haven't analyzed my startup from investor perspective. I always believe core idea is all what must be cared and with proper strategy to reach market, any idea can bloom. But when I asked some investor they asked me how much is the traction --- but we are just the start, we are not significant on that right now. Will the right idea not enough at the start?
Michelle@biskitcrumbs · Design
How similar are you to the Ashton in the Nikon commercials and what is your favorite Nikon model/why
Rigel St Pierre
Rigel St Pierre@rigel_st_pierre
@aplusk What made you decide to make the move into the investing and tech space?
Charis Raf
Charis Raf@hrafailidis
Hey Ashton, are you looking to invest in tech startups currently? Do you just invest or get by any means involved in the startups you invest? Meaning, assisting on PR - publicity and other vital parts of a startup's growth?
Hi Asthon, your investments are spot on. I have myself been working in the heavy industry of energy for a few years, and now I have got a few ideas - which sound a bit crazy to others. Do you see some trends or have some ideas which could "disrupt" the energy market and drastically curb its current path? How do you determine what will or will not work?
Mermaid SarahDeLaMer
Mermaid SarahDeLaMer@sarahdelamer · rainbow wisdom
@aplusk what's the best area of investment/development these days re if investing in a start up company....what scene has *legs* for the future? ie) is not a passing fad or likely to run out of steam. Presumably best to base something on consumer NEED rather than anything *fancy* ie) PRACTICAL.Does investment in a person and their *skills* count? I guess that's more sponsorship. SO what is the fundamental difference between start up investment and sponsorship? ...Perhaps no difference at all....Are you learning better what not to invest in and how do you make your judgement call now? Is it very different than when you first started ? and most importantly how to discern when to stop short of spreading yourself too *thin* ... perhaps there are no limits to the investment *magic* if a company is genuinely self generating and sustainable....
Patrick Daniel
Patrick Daniel@patrickdaniel · Co-Founder The Future Society
@aplusk if you could offer your younger self advice what would it be?
Joel Freiberg
Joel Freiberg@joelf30 · Business Analyst, Tinybeans
@aplusk Hi Ashton, what is your view on safely sharing photos and family moments on a social network or platform where digital privacy is an extremely difficult concept to understand? Are different mediums more secure than others?
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@aplusk At what point did you decide that you wanted to be involved in the technology/investing business? Is there a specific company or event that made you make the call?
Rabi Gupta
Rabi Gupta@rgupta29 · Cofounder Eva bot @Vizzi
@aplusk thrilled to see you here Ashton. What are the key things you look into before investing in any startup?
Fransje FM
Fransje FM@fransjefm
Dear Ashton, what will be your favorite ultimate technological invention possible before this wave in evolution will change again? In Love, F
Patrícia Spinelli
Patrícia Spinelli@ptspinelli · fotógafo
@aplusk Hi! Ashton earlier questioned you about your vision of the relationships between people in social networks. You believe to be possible a more humane relationship between people and less commercial? Thanks
Mark Jeffrey
Mark Jeffrey@markjeffrey · Author
Hi Ashton -- Who got you into investing in the tech world? Was it Jason Calacanis? Ron Conway? Who was it that pulled you in, introduced you around? (I know you're famous and all -- but suspect you still needed a little intro help nonetheless :) )
Juan Antonio Karmy
Juan Antonio Karmy@jkarmy · Maker | Engineer | Musician
Hey Ashton, nice to have you here! And thanks for taking the time to do this AMA! What tech trends do you see becoming big in the next 5 years?
Steven W
Steven W@mrwongsteven · Nice guys finish lunch.
@aplusk Looking forward to watching you play Steve Jobs!
Matthew Bell
Matthew Bell@matthewbells · Entrepreneur, Startup Founder
Hey Ahston! Welcome. I'm curious to know what are the top 3 things you look for when investing in a company?
Hello, Ashton What type of startup founders do you like most? What qualities they should have?
Théo Lefevre
Théo Lefevre@theolfvr · Social Media Manager
sup ashton. 😄 I'm a French student and I wanted to know if American investors like you are interesting about French Tech ? Because here, it's a big subject nowadays ! Thanks
Felix@felixoginni · Making
Hi @aplusk Do you see yourself ever doing a Startup? And what space is it likely to be in?
Lyn Gon
Lyn Gon@busoni73
@aplusk Hi Ashton, what's your take on hackathons? You gave us a pleasant surprise last year at "Thorn Hackathon". Thanks
Lucy Traveller
Lucy Traveller@travel_lucy · Payperhost LLC
Hello there! Do you pay attention to the web hosting industry too? Do you think that the new pay as you go hosting provider could be game changing and bring improvement to this industry? Thank you
Michael Gaffney
Michael Gaffney@mgaffneyny · Entrepreneur, Twin, Voyagr
@aplusk What's It Like Being A Twin?
Patrick Daniel
Patrick Daniel@patrickdaniel · Co-Founder The Future Society
@aplusk this is a peter thiel type of question. what important truth do very few people agree with you on?
AJ@alanaut24 · Engitrepresigner
@aplusk sup Ashton. Do u ever wish u finished your degree? Why don't you spend more time focusing on social impact?
Todd Goldberg
Todd Goldberg@toddg777 · 👀 crypto
Hey @aplusk! You've invested and worked with a lot of consumer-focused companies. What's been some of your biggest learnings from working with them?
Kaan Guven
Kaan Guven@kanguv · Student, Ozyegin University
@aplusk Hey Ashton! What is the most important personality trait or skill you look for in a VC partner? ++ Do you think going directly to VC as a career path right after college makes sense or not? In what ways?
Sameer Noorani
Sameer Noorani@sameernoorani · CEO, Roomvine
@aplusk At events how do you (digitally) interact with all your fans?
Michael Gaffney
Michael Gaffney@mgaffneyny · Entrepreneur, Twin, Voyagr
From my twin bro @pgaffii his investments seem more mid level cpg based; does he think that it becomes time to grow after a certain point and what kind of overlap does he look for with enterprise solutions?
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@aplusk What technology that you've seen over the years excites you most about the future and makes you optimistic about the world your daughter (congrats!) will live in and experience?
Laksman@laksman · Entrepreneur
@aplusk Do you invest in startups that are similar in mission? I.e. Would you invest in another house remodeling startup since you are already an investor in Houzz?
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@aplusk great to see you here! I AM building a fashion tech app. What do you look in a company before investing in it. Do you have Any advice for an entrepreneur as well?
Hello Ashton How much time do you spend on working with startups?
Eric Stead
Eric Stead@astro_stead · Seminole State College
Hello Ashton from Orlando, FL! How did playing the role of Steve Jobs affect your work ethic in the tech world?! Also, since you are no longer a fruitarian, what is currently your fav drinks and eats in your refrigerator?! Thanks and take care! Ps-your role in "The Guardian" inspired me to join the Coast Guard back in 2008, and it changed my life. I am currently going to college for free thanks to that decision. Thank you for inspiring me.👌 Big fan, Eric
Liz Villatoro V
Liz Villatoro V@elyzabeth1
hi @aplusk how do you think technology has influenced people from different cultures around the world, and what can we expect for the future
Simone Panfilo
Simone Panfilo@simonepanfilo · Ceo, LOVEThESIGN
@aplusk hey ashton, great having you here. What is your feeling on ecommerce and design retailing given you previous experience with fab?
@aplusk Hi Ashton. It seems to me that consumers are getting lazier and consumer behavior is gravitating to consuming via text. This wave seems similar to e-commerce 20 yrs ago when Amazon decided to sell books on this thing called the internet. Consumer behavior wasn't used to it yet but Bezos decided to focus on a single vertical, rather than the horizontal approach that Butler, Magic, and other are taking. I'm curious to know what you think of the SMS as a service space and why you think the horizontal route, rather than focusing on a single vertical given the consumer behavior shift, is a better route to take. (disclaimer: I am working on a project ( - personal assistant for real estate via SMS). Thanks in advance!
Samiro@c_samiro · Anglus S.A.S.
Hola @aplusk. Technology is a revolutionary element in absolutely all industries. One of them is education and video games. What advice would you give to a startup that can revolutionize these industries (game + learning)?
Paul Tomkinson
Paul Tomkinson@paultomkinson · Founder, Textras
@aplusk how do you think Snapchat would/will fare in the music and entertainment industry 3-5 yrs out?
Mitchel Calcaterra
Mitchel Calcaterra@mmtchl · Customer Success, Lightstream
Hey @aplusk. I was just wondering what it was that drew you into your recent gaming investments and where you see the industry of gaming and esports going in the near future.
Eric Stead
Eric Stead@astro_stead · Seminole State College
Hey Ashton! Are you looking at getting involved in any way with the space insustry? Private companies like Space X are changing the landscape for space travel. Would love to know what are your thoughts on this new space race? Thanks!! 🚀 -Eric
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@aplusk What investment(s) that you've made recently are you most excited about?
Jacob Brody
Jacob Brody@jacobbrody
@aplusk Do you have an investment thesis and go searching for companies building solutions to those problems? Or do investments come to you through your network. Obviously you've got Guy and Abe looking at deals as well, but what are some other ways you discover entrepreneurs?
David Turner
David Turner@dturneresq · RSA Fellow
How big an opportunity is Agile. If you put agile in front of anything does that make it investable? i.e. Agile Airports, Agile Hospitals, Agile Factories, etc. ....
Nikola Stojic
Nikola Stojic@zeusoft · Developer of Ubuntu Budgie/Blogger
@aplusk Have you ever wondered about pitching idea of startup movie ( starts small goes big a.k.a Google) to a producer? I think that it would be amazing to see the movies on some of the companies. What's your opinion ,,Pirates of the Silicon Valley?" Btw, is awesome project :) ·
@aplusk Please email me when you have a moment. I'd like to get your opinion on something which could have very positive, global benefits:
James McBennett
James McBennett@mcbennett · Designer
Who do you get advice from? Who would you want to ask an AMA question to?
Alex @gordongeckco · Founder,
Ashton, which startup brands would u go with "Mobile Payment" or "Payment App"
Alex @gordongeckco · Founder,
Ashton, what do you think of this Brand Name: sound interested in it, let me know
James McBennett
James McBennett@mcbennett · Designer
What are the most innovative things happening in Hollywood? What do people think of crowdfunding of Wish I Was Here by Zach Braff?
Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas@nicolewill100
Ashton - a lot of interesting stuff starts out in the social arena and moves into the mainstream. I mean couchsurfing came before AirBNB, micro lending came before kickstarter and P2P lending. do you watch this space? what are your sources of info for what the Next Big Thing(s) are/is?
I am from the accounting industry and I would like to venture into entrepreneurship but I have no guts to do it. What made you start?
Ekaterina Klink
Ekaterina Klink@ekaterinaklink · Growth & International Bizdev
@aplusk would you invest in Emerging Markets? If so, what would be the industry you're mostly interested in?
Zhumagaliyev Dias
Zhumagaliyev Dias@zhumagaliyev_dias · CEO, Pro-Image
Mr. Kutcher, First of all, I would love to wish you a happy new year and thank you for your actings. Secondly, I would like to know about your investing. Where do you usually invest, what are your priorities? How do you feel investing into international startups?