What do startups and NBA stars have in common? Money, money and money. While the former desperately need money for their play, the latter make pots of it by playing. Well, former NBA star and hall of famer Kobe Bryant has decided to bridge the gap by setting up a venture capital fund in association with investor Jeff Stibel.
The fund isn’t particularly humongous as VC funds go but is definitely a good start with $100 million. The fund will be handled by Bryant Stibel, a VC firm jointly set up by Kobe and Jeff to invest the money. Unsurprisingly, Bryant Stibel will be operating out of Los Angeles, reflecting Kobe’s 2 decade long career, which he spent playing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The duo already share a relationship of sorts, having made several investments together over the past few years. The firm will serve to formalize things, with all the $100 million amount provided by Bryant and Stibel themselves. The firm may take up outside investors in the future, but it is not in the plans as of now.
The fund will focus mainly upon forward looking companies that are associated with domains like tech, media, data etc. Interestingly, it is expected to last for a few years so we can probably safely infer that it will be used to make initial level investments, including seed and A rounds, rather than later rounds which also tend to be larger.
Referred to as one of the greatest players in the history of the game by many people intimately associated with the NBA, such as commissioner Adam Silver, Kobe Bryant is one of the most decorated and successful players in the history of the game. He was also the first player in NBA history to have at least 30,000 career points and 6,000 career assists to his credit and is a well familiar name to anyone who even remotely follows NBA.
On court success quite apart, the basketball legend also believes to have a knack for identifying businessmen and entrepreneurs. And he will supposedly be using this very knack in his business dealings as well.
It’s the inner belief that a person has that he will endure no matter what the obstacle may be. It’s that persistence, the entrepreneur doing what he or shetruly believes in and truly loves to do.
Stibel said that this wasn’t really like a usual endorsement gig on Bryant’s part and that the former NBA star was coming in strictly as an investor. Speaking out his mind on the topic, he said
We don’t want to be in the business of investing in companies so someone can use Kobe as an endorser. That’s not interesting. The point is to add real value.
Meanwhile, Bryant joins the list of several other sport stars with a lot money on their hands, who are looking to use it for meaningful investments into startups. The money is just lying around anyways and a well placed investment gives these stars the chance to put it to work in a niche with high risk and high returns.