The Sway Boys rose to TikTok fame on dance videos and pranks. Now the 18- and 21-year-olds are VCs, wooing startup founders at their opulent LA mansion.

sway house boys

Summary List Placement

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.

A few weeks earlier Clayborne learned 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.

As a Y Combinator graduate, Lendtable had already attracted about $1.5 million in pre-seed money from investors like Facebook crypto engineer Ramnik Arora. Clayborne was in the process of raising what would become a $4.5 million seed round from a who’s who of investors, including Softbank.

Clayborne was curious if his company could benefit from a new type of younger, hipper influencer investor.

So he went to the opulent Bel Air home to meet them. His visit came right after he presented Lendtable at Y Combinator’s Demo Day, the event where Silicon Valley’s top VCs sniff out the startup accelerator’s most promising companies. 

The contrast couldn’t have been starker. 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 about bringing them in as owners in his company. He wondered if the Sway Boys were going to be nothing more than “air-headed TikTok e-Boys,” he told Business Insider. 

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Parties and controversies

Prior to that summer, the Sway Boys lived in another “collab house” mansion run by talent management company TalentX, where they had antagonized neighbors by blasting music late into the night and leaving trash accumulated on the sidewalk.

Hall was particularly controversial. He had been arrested on drug-related charges in May and the city of LA had cut the power at the personal rental house he shared with two other Sway Boys in Hollywood Hills after he hosted a massive 21st birthday party in August, violating pandemic lockdown guidelines.

Michael Gruen, the group’s talent manager at TalentX, defended Hall. Gruen told Business Insider that the TikTok star hasn’t been to a party since the incident and has “grown in a lot of areas” and is “continuing to grow” from the criticisms of the last few months. Hall declined to add further comment on these matters.

Clayborne, however, ended up taking a small angel investment from Richards, Hall, and Johnson totalling just $7,500 and says the Sway Boys have brought him nothing but good fortune — and not just because he got a dose of social media stardom while at the Sway House. 

Instead, they offered him something that even Softbank couldn’t: a loyal network of millions of followers and connections to online …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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