By the middle of the last decade, Kevin Hart had climbed as high as he could on the top of comedy, reliably filling arenas, launching top-tier Netflix specials, and releasing No. 1 blockbusters like The positive Y ride along. But for Hart, becoming rich and famous was just the first step to becoming even richer.
Stardom today is a commodity, more monetizable than ever, and few have figured out how to harness it more effectively than Hart, who in parallel with his comedy career has built a business empire so diversified it’s nearly impossible to categorize, that it ranges from movies and TV to health and fitness, consumer packaged goods, spirits, sportswear, fintech and biotech. Seemingly every A-lister has a production company, many are shills for brands (care about a Nespresso?), a few have created their own hits (Casamigos, anyone?), and an even fewer have launched their own. own venture capital. money. What sets Hart apart from other enterprising artists is not just that he does all of the above, but also the pace of his ambition: no one can claim to have had a more prolific 2022.
Regardless of your demographic, it’s unlikely you haven’t seen Hart in an ad targeted at you. He has been associated with numerous brands, including Sam’s Club and DraftKings, and continues to do ads for JPMorgan Chase, for which he has a personal affinity. “It is very easy for me to embrace [these brands] and incorporate them into my day,” says Hart. “It’s never over the top.”
He’s even more excited about the consumer products companies in which he now has a stake. In the fitness sector, these include Hydrow rowing machines, for which he serves as investor and creative director, and Fabletics. In 2020, Hart launched the Fabletics Men line, which he launched his third sportswear collection in January. “Success around the brand is tied to my success because not only do I love the product, I think the world is going to love the product,” Hart says. “So having Fabletics every day, all day, is not a chore. It is essential, right?
In May, Hart introduced his premium tequila, Gran Coramino, putting him in competition with his friend and frequent co-star Dwayne Johnson’s Teremana label. Hart had been approached by numerous spirits brands over the years, but he didn’t pull the trigger until he met with 11th-generation tequila maker Juan Domingo Beckmann, who custom crafted a crystal-clear expression for Hart. ultrafiltrado ($59) and a recently released añejo. ($113).
Then, in August, Hart opened the first location for Hart House, his plant-based fast food chain, in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles. The comedian switched to a flexitarian diet (mostly plants, some chicken) after years of “pounding red meat nonstop” along the way and seeing that “a lot of people in my family don’t get heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes.” as a result of a poor diet. Hart’s idea was to introduce the benefits of a plant-centric diet to communities with few such options.
In good measure, in the spring, Hart launched his new media production company, Hartbeat, attracting a $100 million investment from partners at private equity company Abry.
According to Thai Randolph, CEO of Hartbeat, Hart’s banner year was the direct result of a four-day brainstorm at the Montage Hotel in Cabo in mid-2021. Hart had brought in 60 employees to boost morale at the height of his career. of the pandemic, but the recall turned out to be “a call to action in this ecosystem for us to dream bigger, collaborate more boldly, and reconsider the possibility of what could happen,” Randolph says.
Hart had an eye for making deals long before he became a household name. He financed several of his early stand-up specials himself, spending $750,000 to produce and launch his 2011 special. laugh at my pain in theaters, where it grossed over $7 million. That success only bolstered Hart’s entrepreneurial ambitions. “I wasn’t the businessman I am today,” Hart says. “At first, I didn’t know anything. I was a sponge, and I absorbed a lot of information from being around people who were doing the things I wanted to do.”
Robert Roman, a wealth manager who met Hart at a summit a few years later, recalls that it was clear even then that Hart “wanted to be a mogul.” He and Hart hit it off, and today Roman oversees Hart Ventures, the artist’s venture capital firm, which has minority stakes in dozens of companies that align with Hart’s interests and values, including the streetwear brand Mitchell. & Ness, vegan food company BeyondMeat, and social food-ordering platform Snackpass. In October, Hartbeat Ventures announced its first institutional investment, from JP Morgan.
Hart rarely spends more than a few months at home in Los Angeles, but when he does, he’s in his Encino offices every day. The comedian can’t resist pulling the odd joke at meetings, Randolph admits. “But surprisingly,” he says, “the only thing that’s not a joke to him is the money and the bottom line.”
This story first appeared in the November 21 issue of magazine. Click here for subscribe.