In the past, many professional athletes were not adequately rewarded, and they had very little to fall back on after calling it quits. As time went on, they faded into oblivion and became the object of nostalgia. These days, many professional stars are thinking more of life after retirement while they are still active in their playing careers. They are earning way more now, and are thinking of what they do after the end of their careers.
Many turn into coaching and punditry, but there are many more that are entering into tech investments. They know that the present and the future is tech, and are using their massive earnings in early and mid-level tech startups, which is a risk they are willing to take. Their investments are often in three folds: backing, developing or endorsing.
Sports stars are investing in smart products, aircraft production, software companies, artificial intelligence, automated processes, and even robotics.
In this article, we’d take a look at a few sports stars who have ventured into tech investing.
Serena Williams (Tennis)
At her prime, Serena Williams was one of the most dominant athletes, and perhaps the best tennis player of all time. While she has earned a lot of money from her exploits on the court, her off-field investments are also yielding well.
Mayvenn, a startup that provides human hair and extensions to customers, and Mobli, a photo-sharing application, are some of her investments.
She has invested in Daily Harvest, which is a food delivery service that sends healthy frozen dinners to customers. She is also a shareholder at SVMK, the parent company of SurveyMonkey, the tech company that helps users create simple or sophisticated surveys online.
Kevin Durant (Basektball)
Aged 33, Kevin Durant is one of the most recognizable stars in the NBA. He is a 2-time NBA champion, who currently plies his trade with the Brooklyn Nets, and is regarded as one of the best players of all time. He has delved into the tech industry and has his own production.
He has investments in the Culture Fund and the Acorns app and has listed Ron Conway, an early Google investor, as a mentor.
Rusell Okung (American Football)
2-time All-American offensive tackle, Rusell Okung, who is currently a free agent is a board member of the NFL Player’s Association, which helps players seek out their own legitimate investment opportunities.
He is also a major investor in Next Play Capital, a VC firm that integrates sports and tech-based businesses. Next Play Capital provides access to venture capital through integrated exposure to venture funds, direct investments, and joint venture partnerships.
Naomi Osaka (Tennis)
4-time Grand Slam champion, Naomi Osaka is also a tech enthusiast. The 24-year old Japanese has invested in a sports technology and gaming company called StatusPRO. Troy Jones and Andrew Hawkins, both former football players, founded the company, which combines XR (augmented reality & virtual reality) and data. This combination helps create fan engagement products and a suite of training.
Osaka said in a statement, “I look for investment opportunities that can have a lasting impact on culture and society—and StatusPRO is poised to do that. It’s not only going to influence gaming and entertainment (two things I am passionate about) but also the way athletes can train and analyze their performance.”
Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala (Basketball)
Former teammates, Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala are into the e-sports market. They are both investors in Swift, a company that is into multi-game e-sports.
Iguodala, a 3-time NBA Champion with Golden State Warriors has ties to Trumid, an e-trading platform. He is also an investor in Thrive Global, a company that is focused on behaviour change technology and media to offer support to individuals with burnout and stress. He has also tied his money to The Players’ Tribune, a media company.
Curry, who is the greatest 3-pointer in the history of basketball has invested in Slyce, a pizza-delivery app, as well as a venture-funded startup called CoachUp, which connects pro athletes with private coaches.