Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Selena Gomez Makes Her First Tech Investment

The young actress and singer Selena Gomez has helped fund an app called Postcard on the Run, which helps users print and send postcards of photos from their iOS and Android devices.

Gomez found Postcard on the Run while fiddling with her iPhone on tour, she told AllThingsD on Wednesday. She “fell in love with it, and told all my friends about it.” Then she emailed the company and told them she wanted to help.

Gomez, the star of the Disney Channel series “Wizards of Waverly Place,” has now participated in a $750,000 funding round for the start-up — its first outside investment, and her first-ever tech investment.

People in Silicon Valley like to talk smack about celebrity tech investors, but with the power of social media, they’re not quite as much of a vanity move for all involved anymore. Gomez has more than eight million Twitter followers and nearly 25 million Facebook “Like”-ers.

A little light promotion by Gomez has already been really effective, said Postcard on the Run founder and CEO Josh Brooks. A single post on her Facebook page led to 20,000 app downloads in 24 hours.

And she’s been using the app herself, Gomez added. She said she has sent at least 12 postcards to her grandmother, and she’s sending cards to fans, as well — 25,000 of them signed up for the chance during a recent promotion.

Postcard on the Run competes with Postagram and the new Apple Cards. What is Postcard on the Run’s standout feature? Scratch-and-smell scents on your postcards.

No, really. For an extra 50 cents, on top of the usual $1.49, you can embed the scent of sunscreen into the wish-you-were-here card you send from Hawaii. Other fragrances include chocolate, popcorn and holiday spice.

Gomez joins a new class of celebrity tech investors — most prominent among them Ashton Kutcher, who has made tons of investments in companies like Airbnb, Zaarly and Hipmunk. In addition to money and advice, Kutcher famously promotes his portfolio companies through social media, in print and on his TV show. Others celeb investors include Kim Kardashian (ShoeDazzle), Justin Timberlake (Myspace and others) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Mobli). Mashable has been saying that a start-up investment by Gomez’s boyfriend Justin Bieber is imminent.

Brooks, meanwhile, is not just some up-and-coming app developer meeting a celebrity for the first time. (Which is kind of too bad, right? I’d like to imagine Selena Gomez plucking a nobody from obscurity as she’s trying new apps on her tour bus.) He was formerly VP of programming and music at Myspace and head of content and programing for Project Playlist; before that, he was a talent manager.

Brooks’s other investors include Crosscut Ventures, Mike Jones, Kamran Pourzanjani, Yves Sisteron, Aber Whitcomb, Brian Fitzgerald, Ryan Steelberg, Colin Digiaro, Brian Lee, Chris DeWolfe and Jarl Mohn.

Will Gomez keep investing? “Maybe,” she said, “but at the moment, I’m good. I don’t like overwhelming myself, I like to focus and put my all in, so that’s what I’m doing.”

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