Plenty of people from regular folks to die-hard fans have been wondering just what Kobe Bryant was going to do next after retiring from a stellar and legendary pro basketball career in the NBA. Now we know: he has joined forces with an old entrepreneur friend and opened a venture capital fund worth $100 million, ready to make investments in a wide range of markets.
Business Insider reports that Bryant and brain researcher turned tech entrepreneur Jeff Stibel have on Monday August 22 launched Bryant-Stibel, their venture capital funding firm to be based in Los Angeles. They intend to make major investments in promising media, technology and data companies over the next few years.
Having been introduced to one another by a mutual friend back in 2013, the NBA star and the investor have found kindred souls in on another, forming bonds on their similar history of foot injuries.
Ever since then they have made simultaneous investments in 15 businesses, among them the sports website The Players’ Tribune, the Silicon Valley-based Juicero company that manufactures $700 easy to use juicers, video game developer Scopely and telemarketing software firm RingDNA.
For Bryant-Stibel, the two founders are eager to combine their respective skillsets to build up their now-official partnership in venture capital funding. Aside from his brain research background Stibel was also the former CEO of Web.com, a public tech firm, along with being founder of several marketing companies. The retired LA Laker on the other hand has creative and marketing acumen to bring to the table; he personally designed the Bryant-Stibel company logo which evokes the image of piano keys, somewhat alluding to Bryant’s brief stint as a rapper according to Vanity Fair.
It seems what Black Mamba is dead-set on becoming post-NBA is a top-level investor, if one were to ask another investment giant, billionaire Chris Sacca. In his opinion, “He was bringing the same obsessive work ethic to learning about start-ups that he does to training…This is a very unique personality type that I only see in some of our very best entrepreneurs…I think he can be great at this.”
In an interview on The Wall Street Journal, Bryant said that some comparisons are already being drawn between his venture capital fund and similar efforts by NY Knick Carmelo Anthony and Bryant’s fellow Laker retiree Shaquille O’Neal. Both have done their own fair share of investing; “Melo” has even set up his own investment fund for early-stage startups, Melo7 Tech Partners.
"I think it's interesting that the immediate reaction from people would be competitiveness between myself and others,” said Bryant. “I'm more interested in how I can help Shaq…and Melo. I enjoy doing that much much more, that’s something that lasts forever.”
Photo Credit to blogs.wsj.com