Hey, Kobe, meet Wall Street. Wall Street, meet Kobe!
Kobe Bryant announces new venture capital fund, rings the opening bell
Kobe Bryant is done with the game, but he’s still taking some good shots.
The newly retired NBA star is having an amazing three days. Just one day before his 38th birthday, the newly-minted venture capitalist announced the start of a $100 million media, technology and data fund. He even rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. On Tuesday he’s celebrating his 38th birthday (happy birthday, Mamba) and the city of Los Angeles has named Aug. 24 – 8/24, Kobe Day, commemorating the two jersey numbers the Lakers legend wore during his career: 8 and 24.
Bryant is making some pretty bold moves. He is partnering with 43-year-old entrepreneur Jeff Stibel for the new venture-capital fund — Bryant Stible. The venture has already invested in 15 companies, according to The Wall Street Journal, including The Players’ Tribune, video game designer Scopely, LegalZoom, apparel T-shirt company Represent, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba and VIPKid, a company that provides a North American school experience to children in China.
“This is one of my passions,” Bryant said on CNBC after he rang the opening bell Monday at the New York Stock Exchange. “We are one gear, 100 percent laser-focused, and here we go.”
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 22, 2016
Bryant already has Kobe Inc., which he started in 2014 when he invested in BodyArmor. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Body Armor partnered with the Los Angeles Lakers for Bryant’s final game at the Staples Center on April 14 and sold $1.2 million in merchandise, setting an industry record for merchandise sales at a stadium and arena in a single day. That didn’t include apparel sold just by Kobe Inc., which offered T-shirts with the recently trademarked words “Mamba Out,” the last words Bryant said before walking off the court for the final time after he scored 60 points in his career finale.
NBA players have a history of making investments and it’s been lucrative for many of them.
Magic Johnson formed Magic Johnson Enterprises, where he decided to invest in urban areas to develop real estate. His real estate funds with Canyon Capital, Yucaipa and JLC Loop Capital have raised more than $3 billion.
Former San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson formed Admiral Capital and has acquired and sold real estate reportedly worth more than $350 million. Admiral Capital also invested in sports highlight capture company Krossover and discount ticketing company ScoreBig.
In 2014, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony started his M7 Tech fund, which has since invested in 20 companies, including ride-sharing company Lyft, ticketing company SeatGeek and Whistle, a pet activity monitor that the fund cashed in on when it was sold a few months ago.