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Last week, NBA champion Andre Iguodala co-hosted a tech investment event called the ‘Players Technology Summit,’ as sports stars slide more and more into backing tech companies. The Hustle Sponsored by As NBA players take a shot on tech, VCs...
By: Wes Schlagenhauf
August 21, 2018
Last week, NBA champion Andre Iguodala co-hosted a tech investment event called the ‘Players Technology Summit,’ as sports stars slide more and more into backing tech companies.
As NBA players take a shot on tech, VCs are lining up to coach all-star investors
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.
Ballin’ and stock callin’
As tuition rises, college kids are buying insurance in case they have to drop out
TheWall Street Journalreports that the number of tuition insurance policies is increasing rapidly -- tripling from 20k to 70k plans in the past 5 years.
As the cost of college increases, so does the cost of dropping out -- and a lot of families are hedging their bets.
Tuition insurance has existed since the 1930s
Believe it or not, once upon a time, students could fund college without getting run over by a financial freight train. But until recently, college tuition wasn’t as big of an investment as a car or house.
But the times they are a-changin'. College tuition has risen almost $20k since 1988, pushing the average cost of private tuition to nearly $35k -- making school a massive investment.
Plus, while past pupils could reasonably expect to finish school, today’s students are dropping out of school more regularly -- making tuition even riskier business.
Protecting an (uncertain) investment
Expensive college has taken more than just a financial toll: At many elite colleges, as many as 1 in 4 students are now classified as disabled due to mental health problems. As a result, the number of mental-health-related dropouts is increasing steadily.
Unfortunately for students who run into mental (or physical) health problems midway through the semester, most schools will only reimburse tuition for withdrawals at the beginning of a semester.
Since many tuition insurance policies only cost about 1% of tuition and entitle students to recoup 80%, an insurance policy costing $530 could reimburse $47.2k at a school that costs $59k.
Founded in Britain in 1903, the now-Israel-based SodaStream makes machines that allow consumers to carbonate tap water and other beverages at home by filling a reusable bottle and flavoring it with syrups.
Fun fact: According to Reuters, SodaStream was a popular device in British kitchens in the ’70s and ’80s before bottles came around and made the process of getting your carb’ on much cheaper.
Now, as soft drink sales have gone flat, SodaStream’s share prices have bubbled 85% so far this year, after a 78% increase in 2017.
Things may be a little awkward around the carbonated water cooler
SodaStream has criticized PepsiCo in public statements and advertising campaigns in the past, calling out bottled water makers for polluting the environment (Pepsi owns Aquafina and a few smaller brands).
“Shame on PepsiCo,” SodaStream Chief Executive Daniel Birnbaum said last year when the soda giant presented its newest bottled-water brand LIFEWTR. “The bottled-water industry is the biggest marketing scam of all time.”
Spoiler alert: ‘Stories’ has been a grand slam for the gram
2 years ago, Facebook’s Instagram had a problem: The glamorous shots of misty mountain sunsets and black sand beaches had set the bar too high.
Dare we say, the glamour shots had become too glamorous?
As CEO Kevin Systrom told Recode, the ‘Bora Bora or bust’ mentality intimidated people from posting anything less than highly curated life highlights, which ultimately discouraged people from posting every day.
That’s when IG decided to steal one of the best products ever to grace the screens of social media from their direct competitor -- Snapchat.
And just like that, Instagram Stories was born
Now, 2 years later, stealing Snapchat’s idea (literally down to the face swap) is arguably the most glamorous picture Instagram has ever posted.
Recode notes that while Instagram never actually needed saving (they still had over 300m DAU’s before the heist), Stories definitely turbo-boosted the platform.
To date, Insta Stories has brought in more than 400m daily users alone -- more than twice the number of users Snapchat has in its entirety -- making it one of the fastest-growing media formats ever.
Snap’s growth has been, well, snapped
Soon after Instagram Stories launched, Spiegel-chat almost immediately saw its user growth rate flatline, and yesterday, Snap announced it lost 3m users last quarter -- its first ever decline.
Meanwhile, some 31% of Instagram users reportedly post a Story every month, up from 21% a year prior, and 47% of users watch Stories at least weekly, up from 32% last year.
You know what they say: You don’t become an estimated $100B company without copying a few enemies.
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