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Nasir Jones, better known as the rapper Nas, could quite possibly have more hits outside of his extreme lyrical talent than he does inside of Hip Hop. If I were to ask you to give me your Nas Top 5 it might include classics such as NY State of Mind, One Mic, It Ain't Hard To Tell or maybe even Life's A B. But Nas' real top 5 include hits like Lyft, Ring, and Coinbase.
A lot of attention goes to Jay-Z and how he's turned his Hip Hop career into an entrepreneurial dynasty. Especially in light of recent moves with LVMH and Square. But not often do we discuss the major moves of his fellow New York emcee Nas. Jay and Nas will forever be connected. Not only due to past beefs but also just general Hip Hop banter of who is the better rapper. But the most important parallel between the two entrepreneurs might be what they each have accomplished outside of music.
Founded in 2013, Queensbridge Venture Partners has a very impressive history of hits. Being one of the founding members, Nas has his hands in several companies that we use daily. Probably the biggest name in Nas' investment portfolio is Ring. QVP was an early investor in the widely used doorbell video camera tech super giant. And when Amazon acquired the company in 2018, Nas reportedly netted a smooth $40 million in profits. But that isn't the only investment of QVP that Amazon has acquired from the Queensbridge emcee. Pillpack, a prescription drug delivery service, was also sold to the tech conglomerate. Amazon’s acquisition of this company supports its growing effort to expand into the healthcare market.
Nas has his hands in dozens of companies. Some of the companies biggest hit investments also include Lyft, Dropbox, Parachute, SeatGeek, General Assembly, Robinhood, Casper and Pluto TV… just to name a few. Aside from the two deals with Amazon, in January 2019 Viacom purchased Pluto TV for $340 million. QVP has invested in well over 60 start ups and the typical investment size ranges from $100,000 to $500,000. And the company is set for another huge pay day tomorrow when Coinbase goes public.
“We started in 2012 with the radical idea that anyone, anywhere, should be able to easily and securely send and receive Bitcoin. Today, we offer a trusted and easy-to-use platform for accessing the broader cryptoeconomy.”
QVP got into Coinbase’s Series B round back in 2013 when it raised $25 million. Around that time Coinbase was valued at about $143 million, according to PitchBook. And according to Coindesk, Nas could see profits upwards of $100 million. Dividing the firm’s $100,000–$500,000 stake by the share price at the time of Coinbase’s Series B ($1.00676) points to QueensBridge owning around 99,329 shares on the low end or 496,642 on the high end. The price that Coinbase shares last traded on private secondary markets was $350 per share. That means that the investment firm would have a stake of somewhere between $34.76 million and $173.8 million. If Coinbase shares trade at investment bank DA Davidson’s new price target of $440, QueensBridge could see the value of its Coinbase stake rise to $43.7 million and $218.5 million, respectively.
I can honestly admit that growing up during the era of Takeover versus Ether and discussing each shrewd lyric, I never would have thought that I would one day be discussing how the two Hip Hop legends are taking over the business world, one shrewd investment at a time.
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