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Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant earned about $680 million throughout his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Forbes.
Now, he’ll be directing at least some of that money into a $100 million venture capital fund together with serial entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. On Monday morning, the duo announced its plans to formally create Bryant Stibel, a Los Angeles-based firm which will invest in tech, data and media companies around sports and other industries.
“I want to be a part of something and if you want to be a true entrepreneur you have to put skin in the game,” Bryant told ESPN in 2014 when he formally entered the business world with Kobe, Inc.
Stibel—who was formerly the CEO and president of Web.com—is well versed in entrepreneurship; he was once one of the youngest public company CEOs in America at the age of 32.
In the past three years, Bryant and Stibel have invested in about 15 companies, including The Players’ Tribune and LegalZoom.
Bryant’s first foray into investing came two years ago around the same time he announced the creation of Kobe, Inc. The Philadelphia native became the third largest shareholder in BODYARMOR, the sports drink that touts itself as a better version of Gatorade.
NBA athletes entering the investment space is nothing new. In March, New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony created Melo7 Tech Partners to invest in data and tech-driven enterprises, including wearables and Virtual Reality.
“The money is enticing but it’s also the thrill of being involved with businesses and companies that’s changing the world today,” Anthony told TechCrunch in May. “Tech is changing the world in everything we do, whether it’s sports, fashion, music. . . . Everybody wants to be heard and technology gives people the opportunity to be heard.”
Bryant’s former teammate and current TNT analyst, Shaquille O’Neal, has one of the more diverse investment portfolios in sports spanning Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Five Guys Burgers and Fries to hundreds of car washes and 24 Hour Fitness gyms.
In a much quieter fashion, former NBA guard Jamal Mashburn has gone from the hardwood to the C-suite since his retirement in 2006; he now has an ownership stake in more than 80 business franchises, including Papa John’s, Outback Steakhouses and Dunkin Donuts.