As NBA players take a shot on tech, VCs are lining up to coach all-star investors

As NBA players and other pro athletes become increasingly active as investors, VCs are creating special programs and funds to help them move their money around.


August 21, 2018

Last week, Golden State Warriors guard and NBA champion Andre Iguodala co-hosted a tech investment event called the ‘Players Technology Summit’ with Bloomberg.

Described as a “forum for some of America’s most celebrated athletes and business leaders,” the event coached athletes on how to invest like Kobe.

The rise of the pro-athlete-preneur

From 2009 until he retired in 2016, Kobe Bryant was the highest paid player in the NBA, racking up $183m. But Kobe’s wins on the court were just the tip of the iceberg compared to his wins off the court. 

Bryant netted $194m profit on last week’s BodyArmor-Coca-Cola deal — more money than his 7 highest-paying NBA seasons combined

Kobe’s investment was a clear 3-pointer for the ex-Laker — but it was also a big win for BodyArmor.

For unknown startups, celebrity investments are slam dunks

Fundraising helps startups raise money and brand awareness. So, when an NBA champion invests in a growing startup like mattress-maker Casper, they’re killing two birds with one basketball.

NBA legends Magic Johnson, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant have all formed their own venture firms to help organize their investments. But other athletes — like Steph Curry, who invested big in e-sports — have opted for one-time investments. 

To help guide Steph and his fellow athlete-investors, VCs are making special programs to help athletes sink their not-so-free throws.

Even an All-Star needs a good coach

Iguodala often credits Andreessen Horowitz partner Jeff Jordan as a mentor, and now he wants to use Bloomberg’s ‘Player Technology Summit’ to create investment syndicates with other players.

Other entrepreneurs are also eager to help pros invest — offering services ranging from the more traditional hands-off wealth management approach to Kobe’s increasingly popular style of name-brand investing.

The ‘MVP All-Star Fund’ recently launched with $100m to match celebrity athlete investors with high-growth startups, investing sums ranging from $100k to $1m for stars like Dwight Howard.

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