Kobe Bryant has officially traded in his hoops shorts for business suits. The newly retired NBA star recently launched a $100 million venture capital firm — which will make investments in technology, media and data companies — with friend and business partner Jeff Stibel, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The 37-year-old ex-Los Angeles Lakers player has partnered with Stibel, 43, on investments since 2013 for 15 companies, including sports media website The Players Tribune, videogame designer Scopley, legal-services company, LegalZoom and a home-juicing company, Juicero. However, Bryant Stibel will be their first official Los Angeles based firm.
The $100 million contribution — which Bryant and Stibel fronted themselves — is expected to roll out through various companies over the next few years. The duo is not “seeking outside investors yet.”
Bryant has been known not just for his dedication and expertise to his teammates on the basketball court, but he says he also has a similar passion for backing, supporting and developing entrepreneurs.
“Sometimes you can spot it right away, other times not so much,” Bryant said to the Journal. “It’s the inner belief that a person has the will to 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 Stibel will be a firm dedicated to promoting and helping such attributes in young, hungry entrepreneurs.
“If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I would say I need to win now,” Bryant explained. “Age tends to give you perspective. The most important thing I enjoy now is helping others be successful. I enjoy doing that much much more, that’s something that lasts forever, and hope they do that for the next generation.”
Bryant isn’t the first NBA legend to take his skills into the boardroom after retirement. Bryant’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal has also capitalized on investments to startup tech and entertainment brands. New York Knick’s player Carmelo Anthony launched his own tech fund, Melo7 Tech Partners, and Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry has also been involved in financing and managing startups specifically in the tech industry, including his latest content management startup Slyce and other projects he’s set to debut at TechCrunch’s Disrupt San Francisco event in September.