will.i.am, Cannes Festival

will.i.am Talks Life Changing Investments In Tesla And Beats By Dre

will.i.am shares his early investment in Tesla and co-creating Beats By Dre which "changed" his life for the better.

will.i.am has always been one foot ahead of the game when it comes to engineering and technology. The Grammy award-winning artist even showed belief in Tesla before Elon Musk took over.

The Black Eyes Peas frontman brought his wealth of knowledge across music, business, and technology to N.O.R.E’s “Drink Champs” recently. While there, will.i.am spoke on the early investments he made in two companies that “changed” his life for the better.

According to the “Let’s Get Started” hitmaker, he received a stake in Tesla two years before Musk joined the company as CEO in 2008. By the time Musk took ownership of the automobile and clean energy company, will.i.am was already on to his next venture co-creating Beats By Dre years before Apple’s acquisition of the brand.

“I invested in Tesla in 2006 before Elon took over [the company] — around the same time,” he told N.O.R.E. “And then, I was a part of Beats. And then, Apple bought Beats from us. So you’re talking about two companies that changed my life. So, I say both.”

will.i.am was playing “Drink Champs” signature game of “This or That” when he answered whether he prefers Elon Musk or Steve Jobs in the tech innovation category. His interest in the industry is natural for the Los Angeles native who attended a high school that specialized in science, engineering, and mathematics.

He has been earning big bucks from his natural passion in tech and business. His role in a private investment group has aligned him with a stake in companies with billion-dollar valuations like OpenAI, Anthropic, Runaway, and Hugging Face.

The “Scream and Shout” rapper/producer doesn’t just invest but also invents his own tech products. will.i.am became an early entrepreneur in Viv Labs which Google acquired for around $500 million. By 2015, he invested in OpenAI when it was funded by billionaires Reid Hoffman, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services, and other tech magnates.

Most recently, will.i.am got behind FYI, an AI-powered productivity app that allows creatives to collaborate and communicate on digital asset management projects.

“Everything’s about to change, and we’re going to witness a societal redefining that will balance inequities,” he says about the evolution of AI.

“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.”

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