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If you were wondering what Kobe Bryant had planned after basketball, you do not have to wonder anymore as he is starting to show us how he will keep busy. On Monday, Kobe announced his venture-capital fund, a $100 million vehicle for investing in technology, media and data companies.
Kobe is partnering with 43-year-old Jeff Stibel, a longtime entrepreneur and investor who was introduced to Mr. Bryant by a mutual friend. They have named their firm Bryant Stibel and will be based in the Los Angeles area.
The two have been invested in 15 companies since 2013, but only after Mr. Bryant’s retirement from basketball have they decided to formalize their relationship and fund.
The two men are contributing the $100 million—which they expect to invest over the next few years—and aren’t seeking outside investors yet.
Current investments include 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.
“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,” said Mr. Stibel, who began his career in brain research and later founded and developed tech companies. “The point is to add real value.”
Mr. Bryant, who is known for his painstaking preparation and training, said he also brings the ability to identify entrepreneurs with a robust work ethic.
“Sometimes you can spot it right away, other times not so much,” said Mr. Bryant. “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.”
This follows the lead of many other sports stars that are now venture capitalists like Carmelo Anthony and Andre Iguodala. It’s great to see these sports stars attempt to use their money wisely instead of the sad stories of wasted fortunes.
Do you think Kobe will find the same success in business that he had on the basketball court?