When his manager recently pitched him again, I thought, “Didn’t we just cover everything that Richards has going on? What could’ve changed in six months?”
The answer is: A lot.
In the last six months, Richards has: Launched a production company with Mark Wahlberg, formed a $15 million venture capital fund, became an N.H.L advisor, formed a marketing agency and developed the most popular new podcast of the year.
Richards said, “A lot of people don’t expect to see the moves that we make. And we love keeping people on their toes. What we like to say here is, ‘If we aren’t making moves that make people say, “What the f—?” then we probably didn’t make a big enough move.’”
Making moves like this takes a lot of work. Richard’s schedule is usually booked, in 30-minute increments, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with calls. And he usually attends a business dinner at night.
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One of those calls led to a meeting with Mark Wahlberg. They eventually formed CrossCheck Studios, a joint production team.
Wahlberg said, “I am impressed with Josh and all of the things he’s already accomplished.” That’s high praise from the successful actor and entrepreneur.
Richards said, “When I think about who I look up to, Mark Wahlberg is right at the top of the list. His ability to pivot: Going from Marky Mark, to Calvin Klein model, to starting to act and then going from an actor to an entrepreneur; it’s exactly the path that I want to go on.”
One of the most impressive projects has been Animal Capital: A $15 million fund that he formed with Marshall Sandman, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker and Michael Gruen, Richards’ business partner. Fellow TikTokers Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck are operating partners in the fund.
Their advisory team includes Justin Kan, founder of Twitch, and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the world renowned bitcoin billionaires. Their LP list includes moguls such as: Rich Miner, the founder of Android, Kevin Mayer, the chairman of DAZN and former CEO of TikTok and Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer & International division of The Walt Disney Company and Marc Randolph, cofounder of Netflix.
They sorted through 400 potential companies to invest in and finally selected 12. Richards didn’t just attach his name to the project; he’s actually meeting with companies and advising the group about which ones that he feels most passionately about.
Richards is also showing brands how to connect with a younger generation. He formed an agency, HawkeZ, with the premier marketing agency, Hawke Media. Richards said, “It’s a marketing agency aimed at Gen-Z. We help brands to reach that younger audience that they might not be in touch with. Or, if it’s a company that went out to a different demographic, say 35-50, and now they want to start reaching people 18-24. It’s helping them with different marketing strategies on TikTok or Instagram or whatever platform they want.”
As a Canadian, and lifelong hockey fan, his new advisory position to the N.H.L. might be his favorite project of the year.
Richards will attend events and share ideas about future events or initiatives in order for the N.H.L. to reach younger fans.
Richards said, “I have always wanted to use my platform to educate and inspire and I look forward to sharing my passion for hockey with millions.”
In addition to starting companies, and forming partnerships, he’s also developing content on new platforms. He created the BFFs podcast, with Barstool Sports owner Dave Portnoy, and it’s been the most popular new podcast of 2021.
Richards said, “The partnership with Dave might seem odd but I love Dave and he’s been able to teach me a lot about hosting, about podcasting, about being confident when on the mic, all of it. So, I have a huge amount of respect for him and I think we’ve gotten to be a lot closer from the podcast. Filming the BFFs podcast is the most fun that I have all week.”
And let’s not forget about what got him here: Creating content on TikTok. He doesn’t follow trends or try to duplicate the hottest dance of the moment anymore: He documents his life. Now, we’re with him as he goes throughout his day. Whether he’s in Miami, at a crypto conference, or in L.A. taping his BFF podcast, we’re along for the ride. And it’s pretty exciting ride to be on.