- The Sway Boys are some of TikTok's biggest stars, known for their dance, stunt, and prank videos.
- Three of them, 18-year-old Josh Richards, and 21-year-olds Bryce Hall and Griffin Johnson, are trying to turn their TikTok fame into bigger wealth by investing in startups.
- The Sway boys are controversial choices for investors, known more for their parties than their business acumen.
- But they are having luck wooing founders of up-and-coming startups into deals by inviting them to their LA mansion and promoting their products to their millions of followers.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
On August 27, Sheridan Clayborne, the 21-year-old founder of hot fintech startup Lendtable, walked into the Sway House, a luxurious, Los Angeles mansion that's home to six of the world's biggest TikTok stars known as the Sway Boys. It was his birthday.
Clayborne knew that three of the Sway Boys — 18-year-old Josh Richards, and 21-year-olds Bryce Hall and Griffin Johnson— wanted to become venture capitalists, buying ownership stakes in hot startups, hoping those startups succeed and rise in value.
He was curious if he should let them buy into his company.
Instead of fundraising through a pitch deck, Clayborne created TikToks with the Sway Boys and mingled with celebrities like the Chainsmokers — all in a mansion replete with outdoor pool, ping-pong table in a giant living room, scenic balconies with workout stations, and pricey cars like Teslas parked in the garage.
But as fun as the party palace was for a birthday trip, he had doubts if they would be nothing more than "air-headed TikTok e-Boys," he told Business Insider.
Still, he let them buy a tiny piece of his company and was blown away to discover that they have helped increase customers for his product, which helps cash-strapped people borrow money to max out their company's 401K match. And they aren't just attracting college kids, but suburban moms, too, he said.
Richards, Hall and Johnson have since invested in a handful of other startups, and those founders told Business Insider they are happy with the partnership, too.
But the Sway Boys also come loaded with types of controversy typical for 18- and 21-year-old celebrities. They have plenty of critics who see them as nothing more than glorified partiers with a passing interest in venture, and are "not very sophisticated."
Business Insider talked to the Sway Boys, their manager, their founders and those critics.
Subscribe to Business Insider to read the full story of what the startup world thinks of the Sway Boys' ambitions to become tech venture tycoons.
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