Kobe Bryant Launching $100M Venture-Capital Fund With Investor Pal

Image courtesy of Neon Tommy

Newly retired NBA player Kobe Bryant is moving from scoring baskets to scoring deals with his new career title: venture capitalist.

Bryant and his partner, investor and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel, have invested in 15 companies since 2013 but are just now formalizing their relationship and $100 million venture-capital fund, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The partners will be plugging their own money (for the time being) into technology, media, and data companies. They already invest in sports media website The Players Tribune, videogame designer Scopely, legal-services company LegalZoom, a telemarketing-software firm called RingDNA, and a home-juicing company called Juicero, the WSJ notes.

Whatever deals they do make, the partners say it’s not about using Bryant’s celebrity athlete status.

“We don’t want to be in the business of investing in companies so someone can use Kobe as an endorser. That’s not interesting,” Stibel told the WSJ. “The point is to add real value.”

As for Bryant, he says his experience training for basketball and preparing for games will help him identify entrepreneurs who are also willing to work hard.

“Sometimes you can spot it right away, other times not so much,” he said in an interview with the WSJ. “It’s the inner belief that a person has that he will endure no matter what the obstacle may be. It’s that persistence, the entrepreneur doing what he or she truly believes in and truly loves to do.”

Bryant isn’t the only basketball player to dip his toes into the investment waters: Shaquille O’Neal, also formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers, has invested in technology and entertainment startups, while New York Knicks player Carmelo Anthony founded Melo7 Tech Partners, the WSJ notes.

Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel Unveil $100 Million Venture Capital Fund [The Wall Street Journal]

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