Drake has signed on as an investor and collaborator with Los Angeles-based sustainability and financial services startup Aspiration, the company tells Rolling Stone.
The rapper joins other celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr., and Orlando Bloom in investing in Aspiration, but Drake’s partnership goes deeper than financial backing: He will use Aspiration’s personal and enterprise services to monitor and cut down his own carbon footprint, the company’s execs say, with the hope of making his personal life carbon neutral. Aspiration CEO and founder Andrei Cherney declined to give specifics on how much Drake invested. But, on the collaboration front, Cherney says his team is working with Drake — whose environmental footprint is larger than the average person’s, given the star’s frequent travel and Hollywood lifestyle — to cut down his environmental footprint.
Aspiration offers environmentally-focused financial services, positioning itself as a sustainable alternative to other banks and fintech companies because it doesn’t invest in fossil fuel companies or other non-sustainable endeavors. It also gives its customers tools to track their carbon footprint and put some of their spending toward tree planting and charitable donations. For example, Aspiration has a credit card with an option to round up every customers’ purchase to the nearest dollar to go towards planting trees. Aspiration currently has five million users and has planted 15 million trees from its users’ financial activity, the company says.
“The way we deliver carbon neutrality for Drake or larger partners of that size is with the extra analysis our team applies to all the things they’re doing in their lives,” Cherney says. “They give us information with travel and activities that’ll have a carbon footprint, and then we draw on our reforestation program in excess of what we’d do for an everyday consumer. But fundamentally, we’re delivering the same outcome for them as we can deliver for anyone who wants to open an Aspiration credit card, and that’s knowing they’re aligning their money and their values.”
The Drake deal is the latest in a busy celebrity investment cycle, buoyed by artists who have spent the past year looking to other revenue streams and business opportunities while the touring business shuttered.
Through Drake, Aspiration hopes to evangelizeits concept to millions of fans and other influential artists who might want to jump on the platform. Drake and Aspiration are currently exploring how to implement the company’s services in his professional life as well as his personal one. (A career as a global music artist carries a hefty physical impact — from printing vinyl and CDs to charting an international tour shipping tons of cargo, flying in jets, and taking buses all over the world.)
“We want this to be the beginning of a trend,” Cherney says. “Part of our intention here is making the music industry sustainable. This is our first leadership move together with, I’d argue, the most influential artist in the world, and I can’t think of a better partner to open this book that we’re going to write. And I think that kind of audacious vision is exactly what Drake is in for.”
In a statement, Drake said he is excited to partner with a “company that’s found a simple way to offer everyone the ability to reduce their carbon footprint,” and that “Aspiration’s approach to climate change is really inspiring and I hope together we can help to motivate and create awareness.”