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Tuesday 29 July 2014
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Ashton Kutcher Talks Online Privacy at TechCrunch Disrupt NY

Ashton Kutcher took a break from the small screen to introduce his new A-Grade fund with partner Guy Oseary at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in a panel discussion with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington. The panel started off the interview by settling the rumor that Kutcher’s investment firm was raising a $100 million valuation for their future investment efforts.

“Yeah, that’s true,” Kutcher said. “We’re bundling our current investments and taking our new capital to invest in new investments with the same strategy. We’re somewhat formalizing what we’ve been doing.”

Kutcher and his investment firm will turn to investors to help with their own investment company in exchange for equity in their A-Grade fund, which is currently valuing at around $100 million per TechCrunch. Their most recent successes have come from such staple companies as Spotify, Shazam, Uber, Soundcloud, Airbnb and Fab, to name a few.

Kutcher is no stranger to the tech community. He started the investment group back in 2010 and met with Oseary and third partner Ron Burkle through mutual friends. He will also play the part of famous entrepreneur Steve Jobs in the biopic “Jobs,” due out later this year.

During the TechCrunch interview, Kutcher mentions his interest in future investment opportunities, specifically online privacy. He notes that “privacy is becoming a bigger and bigger issue (on the internet)” and that there is concern about online tracking with “Big Brother.” He implies that there is an investment opportunity connecting privacy and our online footprints, but that he has yet to see the idea come to fruition.

So why is online privacy becoming such a big deal?

Currently, our world revolves around our internet footprints and lives on social media networks. We’ve grown accustomed to posting, tweeting, pinning and detailing every part of our lives. But what many of us forget is that by doing these things, we’ve given up our right to privacy. And many are taking this seriously.

Popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest have defaulted to the latest advertising practices such as social media monitoring, data scrapping, and reselling our private information. In turn, we’ve become victims of targeted advertisements, identity theft, online abuse and so on.

Still, there isn’t much we can do, unless we fundamentally change how we act online.

We can read up on social media privacy policies (which tend to change every so often), we can log off these popular social media sites and login to privacy-centric social media platforms like Sgrouples or NextDoor, or we can simply take our lives offline altogether.

But nonetheless, Kutcher has a point about “Big Brother” and the latest advertising practices that infringe upon our security. Not only does it make sense to protect ourselves online, but it may be the necessary step as we become more exposed to the world around us. And as people become more self-aware, there could be a big investment opportunity that comes with it.




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