Business

Basketball star Kobe Bryant sets up investment fund

Kobe Bryant playing basketball Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former basketball star Kobe Bryant has started a new investment fund

US basketball star Kobe Bryant has formed a partnership with venture capitalist Jeff Stibel to launch a $100m (£76m) investment fund.

Mr Bryant, the former captain of the Los Angeles Lakers, told the Wall Street Journal he felt he has a talent for identifying entrepreneurs.

It is that talent and not his star power that the pair say they hope to bring to the companies they invest in.

The "Bryant Stibel" fund will invest in tech, media and data companies.

Mr Stibel is an entrepreneur and investor who founded several companies including Web.com.

Career change

Mr Bryant, 37, retired from basketball earlier this year after a 20-year career.

He has invested with Mr Stibel before, but this fund is the first formal partnership between them. The pair are financing the fund themselves.

Since 2013, they have invested in 15 companies together including sports website The Players Tribune, videogame designer Scopely, and legal-services company LegalZoom.

Mr Bryant who was known for his strong work ethic in basketball said, similar skills are needed for sport and growing a business.

"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," he said.

The pair said the fund will last a few years and look to target companies where they feel they can add value through their business insight, and not through Mr Bryant's celebrity.

Mr Stibel told the Wall Street Journal, "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. The point is to add real value".

Mr Bryant is not the first athlete to enter the investment world. An increasing number of sports starts and retired athletes are investing in venture capital funds and start-ups.

Former basketball player Shaquille O'Neal has invested in several tech start-ups. Footballers David Beckham and Thierry Henry have both turned their attentions to investing since retiring.

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