Actress-entrepreneur Jessica Alba has boarded “Planet of the Apps” as a mentor and adviser for the unscripted competition series co-produced by Apple and Propagate aimed at identifying up-and-coming app developers.
In addition, Lightspeed Venture Partners, which was the first institutional investor in Snapchat and Alba’s Honest Company eco-friendly consumer-products startup, has joined the series as venture-capital partner. Lightspeed has committing $10 million to fund the development of apps selected in “Planet of the Apps” — which Apple is producing as a big piece of branded content to promote the App Store and the creation of apps for the iOS platform.
Alba, who will also serve as an executive producer, joins Gwyneth Paltrow, will.i.am and tech investor Gary Vaynerchuk, who were previously announced as mentors and advisers for the series slated to debut in 2017. Paltrow and will.i.am will also executive produce the project, along with Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens of Propagate.
In recruiting Alba, Paltrow and will.i.am, Apple and the show’s producers clearly are banking on the trio’s celeb appeal to draw in viewers — rather than their app-coding know-how. That said, each of them have bona fide business experience that extends beyond their performing careers.
“I started the Honest Company because I saw an opportunity in the market for a brand that spoke to conscious consumers and created safe and effective products for every need,” Alba said in a statement. “As a mentor on ‘Planet of the Apps,’ I’m looking forward to meeting entrepreneurs looking to address a problem with an innovative solution, and to help them realize their vision. I can’t wait to see the ideas the app developers bring to the table.”
Alba, who stars in the just-released action pic “Mechanic: Resurrection,” founded the Honest Company in 2012. The company sells baby, personal care, home care, and vitamin and supplement products, and offshoot brand Honest Beauty features a line of skincare, makeup and hair-care products. In 2013, Alba published “The Honest Life,” a best-selling guide to safe and healthy living.
Lightspeed Venture Partners is an early-stage VC firm with over $4 billion in committed capital that has invested in more than 300 companies over the past two decades. Those include Nest (bought by Google), Playdom (acquired by Disney), Flixster (acquired by Warner Bros.), Kongregate (acquired by GameStop) and Slice (acquired by Rakuten).
“Consumer technology has become popular culture, as our portfolio companies like Snapchat have demonstrated,” said Lightspeed partner Jeremy Liew. “We’re excited to work with Apple and visionaries from the tech and entertainment space to discover and enable the next generation of apps that will also become popular culture.”
The series is slated to shoot in Los Angeles over a non-consecutive period from late 2016 to early 2017. Craig Armstrong, Rick Ringbakk and Charles Wachter will serve as showrunners and executive producers.