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Bitcoin wallet startup Abra has announced that actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow has joined its team as an advisor.
Abra on Planet of the Apps
Gwyneth Paltrow, an actress well known as Tony Stark’s girlfriend Pepper Potts in Marvel’s Iron Man and the Avengers series, has joined Abra as an advisor after being chosen by CEO Bill Barhydt during an episode of the Apple’s Planet of the Apps.
Airing his episode on Tuesday, the Shark Tank-style series from Apple Music allowed Barhydt to pitch his Bitcoin-based global money transfer app to a panel of four “entrepreneur advisors,” including Paltrow. The show, in its first season, allows each app developer to make a 60-second “escalator pitch” to the advisors. If at least one advisor is interested, the developer can choose to work with one over the course of several weeks to prepare the app and a pitch for a round of funding from Lightspeed Ventures, a well-known Silicon Valley VC fund.
Barhydt spent three months working on the filming of the show since late 2016, which wrapped up in early 2017, he detailed on the Abra blog. During that time he had been contractually unable to speak about the show or give any details including Paltrow’s involvement until it aired.
The show’s other three advisors are New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk, actress and entrepreneur Jessica Alba, and musician Will.i.am. All four entrepreneur advisors wanted to help his app, according to Forbes’ Laura Shin.
Abra Chose Gwyneth Paltrow
“What happened totally blew me away because not only did all four of them get it, but all four were super excited about working with Abra, and I had to choose one person,” Barhydt recalled to the publication. “To be honest with you, I didn’t think I was going to be put in that situation.”
“In the end,” Barhydt stated on his blog, “I chose to work with Gwyneth and over the course of the show, she set up some valuable and fun meetings, including a Facetime session with Brian Chesky, co-founder & CEO of Airbnb.”
“She has been a huge value add,” Barhydt said of Paltrow. “She’s opened up her network to us, given us valuable business advice,” adding that she also shared “her insights on running a consumer business with hundreds of thousands of paying customers.”
Paltrow Helps Abra as an Advisor
Sitting beside Paltrow, the two Facetimed with Chesky, who advised Barhydt to “focus on making a product that a core group of people love before worrying too much about scaling.” According to the CEO, the advice has “really stuck with me and has helped guide our decision-making at Abra over the last few months.”
After working together for a few weeks, Barhydt and Paltrow presented the Abra app to four venture capitalists at Lightspeed Capital. Lightspeed’s Jeremy Liew commented, “wow, that is the biggest idea I think we’ve seen so far.” However, Lightspeed noted that the startup already had $14 million in venture funding from American Express and other VCs, so they would only invest in Abra if the app gains more user traction with the current investment they have.
How much do you think Paltrow’s involvement will help Abra grow? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Abra
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