The news that Kobe Bryant plans to launch a venture capital fund with his partner Jeff Stibel focusing on investments in tech and media companies comes as no surprise to those who follow celebrity investors. Especially among athletes, who presumably have a fair amount of time to focus on business once their playing days are behind them, the urge to make a splash in the VC business after they retire seems hard to resist.
In Kobe’s case, the fund he and his partner are launching will start with a cool $100 mil. Another famous figure turned venture capitalist is fellow NBA star Carmelo Anthony, who partnered with Stuart Goldfarb to form Mel7 Tech Partners, a VC firm that has invested in a variety of up and coming firms including ride-sharing app Lyft.
Former celebrity athlete Joe Montana has also made a move into the VC world, as a general partner in an early-stage VC fund called Liquid 2 Ventures. Tennis grand slam queen Serena Williams has also participated in the trend, taking part in an $10 million investment round to fund Mayvenn, a hair-extension startup.
Celebrities outside the world of sports have also joined in on the VC fun. Rock band Linkin Park has made a foray into VC, as have famous rappers Snoop Dogg and Nas. Actors Robert Downey Jr. and Ashton Kutcher have also made venture capital investments. How successful these celebrity-backed funds will turn out to be remains to be seen. However, given the number of notable names who have been bitten by the VC bug, it doesn’t seem likely that the desire of celebrities to play a part in the industry will wane anytime soon.
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Samuel Rad is an award winning fee-based Financial Planner with Affluencer Financial Advisors in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Rad has multiple licenses in the investments, real estate and insurance fields. He has spent a considerable amount of his career lecturing at universities and companies, on financial topics such as financial planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.
He currently lectures at UCLA and West Los Angeles College.