Under Bob Iger's leadership, Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel and other tech-forward companies. Those moves were very intentional: "I envisioned a world where technology would be so disruptive that it would allow for an explosion really of production," Iger once said on a podcast with LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman.
Months after leaving Disney's board, that vision has guided his lineup of investments. Iger has bet big on the metaverse, fast delivery and online presentation tools. The former Disney CEO's investments reflect a world where we have nearly anything at our fingertips in the real and virtual worlds — as well as ways to stay entertained, of course. Here's a look at where Iger has put his money so far and some clues at why.
After leaving Disney, Iger's first big move came in March when he joined Genies' board and invested an undisclosed amount of money. The company has a mobile app that lets users create their own rendered avatars for their social media profiles. Eventually, the avatars are supposed to be able to travel through the metaverse. Genies claims it has "tools that allow you to manifest your ideas and experiences as an avatar ecosystem," which is basically Web3 speak for "you can customize your avatar with digital clothes." The company is led by 29-year-old Akash Nigam and is valued at $1 billion after raising $150 million in a series C funding round last month.
“I’ve always been drawn to the intersection between technology and art, and Genies provides unique and compelling opportunities to harness the power of that combination to enable new forms of creativity, expression and communication,” Iger said in a statement.
Iger joined eBay, sports agent Rich Paul and the Chernin Group to buy a 25% stake in Funko, which makes action figures, bobbleheads and other pop culture collectibles. As part of the $263 million investment, Chernin Group CEO Peter Chernin and Iger became advisers on the company's board. Several characters from Pixar and Marvel are part of Funko's product line, which makes the former Disney CEO's investment in the company a logical post-Disney step.
Just a couple of weeks after announcing his investment in Funko, Iger became a part-owner of Gopuff, an instant grocery delivery service that competes with companies like Instacart, for an undisclosed amount. He also became an adviser to the company's executive team. The company is valued at $15 billion and counts Horizon, Fidelity and SoftBank as investors as well.
"I believe consumer commerce will be very different in the near future, and Gopuff is building the platform to power it," Iger said in a statement announcing the acquisition.
Iger's investment comes at a time when instant delivery startups are at a post-pandemic crossroads, but Iger seems to be optimistic about their future. Gopuff, Gorillas, Getir and others have needed to cut staff in recent weeks while tech startups as a whole struggle in the face of a major market correction.
Iger's announced an investment this week in Canva, a popular design company that helps people create videos, presentations and more. The size of the investment wasn't disclosed, and Iger also became an adviser. The company was last valued at $40 billion. Rumors have flown around that Canva could be looking at an IPO in the near future, and Iger's involvement in the company could help push that forward.