On the court, Kobe Bryant was relentless in his preparation and laser-focused on the smallest details that would give him and his team an edge over his opponents.
Now Bryant, who retired from the NBA this season, is channeling his legendary intensity into the venture capital world. Bryant and his partner, entrepreneur Jeff Stible, announced a new $100 million fund for investing in technology, media and data startups in an interview with the Wall Street Journal Monday.
The Los Angeles-based firm is called Bryant Stibel, and the co-founders are putting up their own money. They aren’t looking for outside investors right now.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 22, 2016
WSJ reports that Bryant and Stibel met through a mutual friend, and they have invested in 15 companies since 2013, including heavyweights like Alibaba and ascending media companies like The Players Tribune. The pair decided to formalize their relationship and start the firm after Bryant retired from the NBA following the 2015-16 season.
The company isn’t looking to use Bryant, one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, as a figurehead. Both Bryant and Stibel have complementary talents they plan to contribute to the company. Stibel brings experience to the group, and Bryant brings his well-known work ethic and extreme attention to detail, traits he says he can identify in others.
“Sometimes you can spot it right away, other times not so much,” Bryant told 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 is not the only high profile athlete to get into the tech world. Locally, former Seattle Seahawk Russell Okung launched the Greater Foundation last year in Seattle as a way to both provide opportunity for students and cause real change in a U.S. technology industry that is lacking diversity.
New York Knicks Star Carmelo Anthony and former NBC and Bertelsmann executive Stuart Goldfarb have been investing in tech startups since 2013. Their company is called Melo 7 Tech Partners.
Fellow NBA star Stephen Curry is also heavily involved with the tech world, helping launch a social media platform called Slyce earlier this year. His teammate Andre Igoudala shares a similar passion for tech, too.