Prince Harry’s new Silicon Valley executive role is his latest step to becoming a billion-dollar brand with Meghan Markle. Here’s how they’ve been building a business empire in a post-royal life.

Hillary HoffowerWed, 24 March 2021, 7:24 pm

meghan markle prince harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been busy building their independent wealth in 2020. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

It looks like 2021 is proving to be just as prolific for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry as 2020 was.

After stepping down as working royals last April, the couple became financially independent, no longer drawing on money from the “sovereign grant” that funds the royal family. Almost a full year later, their strategy to build wealth independent from the royal family is becoming clear as they line up several media and retail deals to fund their lifestyle.

First came a Netflix deal in September, followed by two deals in December: an investment in instant oat milk latte startup Clevr Blends and a multiyear podcast deal with Spotify. The moves signaled a turn for the couple as content creators, with a dash of venture capitalist investment.

This week, Harry added two new jobs to his resumé: A new executive role at Silicon Valley mental health and coaching startup BetterUp Inc. and a part-time role as a commissioner for Aspen Institute’s new Commission on Information Disorder.

A representative for the couple did not respond to a request for comment.

Meghan and Harry have an estimated net worth of $5 million, per Forbes, none of which belongs to the crown. Even prior to these deals, experts suggested that the couple could easily leverage their celebrity into a billion-dollar brand with potential opportunities like book deals, speaking-engagement opportunities, and branded merchandise. And to be sure, this same popularity and celebrity were likely major factors in them landing deals with Spotify and Netflix.

Here’s a closer look at Meghan and Harry’s moves to build their wealth in a post-royal life.

In September, Meghan and Harry founded their own production company and signed a multiyear deal with Netflix. The deal’s worth is unclear, but Disney and Apple executives told The New York Times that the couple was shopping for similar deals at their companies for $100 million.

prince harry meghan markle
Samir Hussein/WireImage

The couple plans to produce documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted television shows, and children’s programming under their new production company, which has yet to be officially named.

“Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” the couple said in a statement to The New York Times, which initially reported the news. “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us,” they said, adding that Netflix’s “unprecedented reach will help us share impactful content that unlocks action.”

Netflix has shelled out big for deals with notable names before. The streaming service signed a $100 million deal with Shonda Rhimes and a $300 million deal with Ryan Murphy in 2017, according to the Observer. However, it’s worth noting that Meghan and Harry don’t have the producing experience that Rhimes and Murphy do (although Meghan was a successful television actress before her marriage), so the deal terms may not be quite comparable.

In December, Meghan invested an undisclosed amount in instant oat milk latte startup Clevr Blends. It’s Meghan’s first personal investment to be made public, Fortune reported.

Meghan Markle
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Until Markle’s investment, Clevr Blends had been self-funded, according to Fortune, which first reported the news. There’s no word on how much the deal is worth, but it wasn’t part of a larger funding round.

The brand, led by cofounder Hannah Mendoza, describes itself as a “woman-led, mission-driven wellness company,” and sells powdered matcha, coffee, and turmeric “SuperLattes” with oat milk, probiotics, and mushrooms.

Meghan spoke of the importance of supporting female-founded companies in a statement announcing her investment.

“This investment is in support of a passionate female entrepreneur who prioritizes building community alongside her business,” she said in a statement to Fortune.

Clevr is based near Montecito, California, where Meghan and Harry moved earlier this year. It also donates 1% of its revenue to organizations fighting for food justice, according to Fortune, in line with Meghan’s many charity efforts.

The same month, Meghan and Harry signed a multiyear podcast deal with Spotify, to debut in 2021. The deal terms weren’t disclosed, but the podcast will be available for free.

Meghan Markle Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Getty/Dan Kitwood

The deal with Archewell Audio, the pair’s new audio-first production company, will focus on podcasts that will “build community through shared experience, narratives, and values,” according to a Spotify press release on Tuesday.

Although the series won’t air until 2021, the Duke and Duchess will release a holiday special later this month featuring “inspirational guests.”

“With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are,” they said in a joint statement in the press release.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but previous Spotify deals with high-profile names give a clue to its worth. The streaming service signed with Joe Rogan earlier this year in a deal worth a reported $100 million. To be sure, Rogan is a giant in the podcasting space and Meghan and Harry don’t have podcasting experience.

Forbes reported that industry sources said the podcasting deal could be worth as much as $15 million to $18 million.

Three months later, Harry announced he was taking on a new executive role at BetterUp Inc., a Silicon Valley mental health and coaching startup. His salary wasn’t disclosed.

prince harry
Ben A. Pruchnie/Stringer/Getty Images

Harry will serve as the firm’s new chief impact officer — a role that will focus on “product strategy decisions and charitable contributions, and advocate publicly on topics related to mental health,” The Wall Street Journal’s Chip Cutter reported.

“I intend to help create impact in people’s lives,” Harry told the Journal. “Proactive coaching provides endless possibilities for personal development, increased awareness, and an all-round better life.”

BetterUp says it’s used coaching, AI technology, and behavioral science to help mentees become more effective businesses, organizations, and employees.

While the firm didn’t reveal Harry’s compensation, CEO Alexi Robichaux, who met Harry through a mutual friend last fall, referred to the role as “meaningful and meaty.”

Harry also announced in March that he would be taking on a part-time role at top US think tank Aspen Institute. It’s unclear, though, whether he’ll be compensated.

prince harry
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Harry will be a commissioner for the nonprofit’s new Commission on Information Disorder in an “intensive” six-month study fight misinformation and disinformation, per a Wednesday statement.

He’ll share the role alongside 14 others, including former GOP Rep. Will Hurd of Texas and Sue Gordon, the former principal deputy director of national intelligence. Harry’s role at the Aspen Institute will be part-time and will involve regular meetings, the institute said.

Harry said in a statement about his new Aspen Institute role, per CNN: “As I’ve said, the experience of today’s digital world has us inundated with an avalanche of misinformation, affecting our ability as individuals as well as societies to think clearly and truly understand the world we live in.”

“It’s my belief that this is a humanitarian issue,” he said, “and as such, it demands a multi-stakeholder response from advocacy voices, members of the media, academic researchers, and both government and civil society leaders.”

It’s unclear whether this part-time gig will be paid. Regardless, Meghan and Harry seem on track to build their post-royal wealth — and a potential billion-dollar brand — with similar deals in the years to come.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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