From basketball courts to football stadiums, more black athletes are beginning to invest in tech startups around the country and seeing huge returns while doing it.
Stars like Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are seeing wins on and off the court from their recent investments. Here’s a look at some current and former black athletes making names for themselves in the startup world:
Kevin Durant has built a name for himself in Silicon Valley with his startup Durant Company, which invests in tech companies. Durant has most recently invested in the Culture fund, which is focused on diversifying the tech industry. The NBA-star says his mentors Ron Conway (an early-stage Google and PayPal investor), and Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz have had a huge influence on his business ventures. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz launched the Culture Fund and has since gained the attention of other investors like actor Will Smith and Essence Ventures CEO Richelieu Dennis. Durant also has investments in Acorns, Postmates and The Players’ Tribune.
Kobe Bryant became a household name during his monumental career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Days after his final game with the team in April 2016, the retired NBA-star announced his starting of a $100 million media, technology and data company fund with partner investor Jeff Stibel. Their LA-based firm Bryant Stibel has already invested in Alibaba, The Players’ Tribune and video game designer Scopely, according to ESPN.
Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala:
Golden State Warriors teammates Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala both invested in Swift, a multi-game esports organization, in 2017. Curry has also invested in CoachUp and he founded his own marketing automation platform Slyce. Iguodala holds a diverse portfolio of investments, having money in other companies like e-trading platform Trumid, The Players’ Tribune and Thrive Global.
In addition to being one of the world’s best tennis players, Serena Williams makes business one of her top priorities. Williams, alongside actress Gwyneth Paltrow, has invested in Daily Harvest, a food delivery service that provides healthy frozen dinners. The 23-time Grand Slam winner also has investments in SurveyMonkey parent company SVMK, which has filed for a public offering and could raise $100 million. Some of Williams’ other investments include photo-sharing app Mobli and e-commerce startup Mayvenn, according to Business Insider.
Former NBA-All Star Baron Davis launched Baron Enterprises to invest in operating companies. He’s also founded the Black Santa Company, a media company aimed at bringing diversity to child characters, starting with Santa.
Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman Russell Okung wants more athletes to dive into the tech industry. He currently has investments in esports platform Matcherino. Okung is a board member of the NFL Players Association’s One Team Collective, an accelerator program led by athletes.
Kelvin Beachum Jr.
New York Jets Offensive Tackle Kelvin Beachum Jr. is also a board member of the NFL Players Association’s One Team Collective and has invested in Next Play Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to integrating the sports and technology industries.
The new Houston Rocket isn’t a rookie to the investment world. In 2013, he founded Melo7 Tech Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage digital media and technology companies, with Stuart Goldfarb, a member of WWE’s board of directors.
NBA-legend Michael Jordan is the richest person on this list. With an estimated net worth of $1.65 billion, Jordan has investments in everything from car dealerships to restaurants to the Charlotte Hornets. Now, Jordan has his hands in the tech world and is investing in Gigster, a startup that matches freelance software engineers and developers with companies, and sports data company Sportsradar.
Former NBA-player Rick Fox started his own venture capital firm, Vision Venture Partners. The firm currently holds investments in esports franchise Echo Fox and Twin Galaxies, a company that’s been keeping video game records since the 80’s.