Being ahead of the curve has paid off exponentially for Will.i.am.
As AFROTECH previously told you, he was a co-creator of Beats Electronics, alongside Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Then in 2014, Apple acquired Beats Electronics and Beats Music for nearly $3 billion, the Los Angeles Times reports.
For will.i.am, if he owned just a 1% share, that would mean he could have pocketed around $30 million, per Billboard.
“One day Reid called me and said, ‘there’s this guy you should meet named Mustafa,’ ” will.i.am said, according to Forbes. “‘I know you’re interested in AI and there’s not that many people from the industry that have the vernacular and understanding of the space. It’ll be great to have you in the fold. You should invest. I am.’ I’m like, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Since then, will.i.am has invested in OpenAI, Runaway, Anthropic, and Hugging Face through his involvement in a private investment group. The outlet reports, the companies listed have multibillion-dollar valuations.
Will.i.am also has his own personal endeavors within the technology sector. He is already the founder of FYI, “the first productivity tool designed to serve Creatives First,” states the company website. The resource can turn ideas into business plans, and artists can even transform a verse into a song or album. There are “infinite” segments available for creative use.
Will.i.am has great faith in the new age of technology and believes it will be help disrupt and create opportunities for those in underserved communities who have often been left out of the equation.
“Everything’s about to change, and we’re going to witness a societal redefining that will balance inequities,” he explained, per Forbes. “Folks that have been underserved will be able to use these new tools and technologies to solve their problems and create new industries. And yesterday’s industries will topple with the wave of transformation.”