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'Inspire The Next Generation': A Look At Kobe Bryant's Career As A Venture Capitalist

'Inspire The Next Generation': A Look At Kobe Bryant's Career As A Venture Capitalist

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was mourned by all corners of the world a day after his death.

Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash. The helicopter was headed to Bryant’s basketball training facility Mamba Academy, where he was slated to coach.

Bryant won five NBA championships in 20 seasons with the Los Angles Lakers and won the league's most valuable player award in 2008. Before his 2016 retirement, Bryant had become a venture capitalist, helping several burgeoning companies get off the ground.

From MVP To VC

Bryant started in the venture capital business quietly while he was still playing, along with partner Jeff Stibel. The fund, which focused on tech, data and media companies, had already invested in more than a dozen companies when Bryant announced its existence publicly in 2016 after he retired from basketball. The firm was called Bryant Stibel, and based in Los Angeles.

He got to ring the bell on the New York Stock Exchange that day.

A year earlier, Bryant had acknowledged his investing, when he became an investor in The Players' Tribune, an athlete-written forum founded by Derek Jeter, though the larger fund still wasn't public knowledge. He also had earlier invested in The BodyArmor sports drink brand.

See Also: 5 Of The Most Successful Athletes Turned Investors

Among Bryant Stibel's early investments were LegalZoom, the video game design company Scopely, software firm RingDNA and a company that made home juicers, called Juicero.

"The most important thing I enjoy now is helping others be successful," Bryant told The Wall Street Journal when he announced he and Stibel had started the firm. "I enjoy doing that much much more, that’s something that lasts forever."

Bryant told CNBC at the time that, eventually, he'd rather be known for investments that panned out than for basketball achievements.

"Championships come and go," Bryant said in August of 2016. “But if you really want to create something that lasts generations, you have to help inspire the next generation, and they create something great, and then that generation will inspire the one behind them, right? And that’s when you create something forever. And that’s what’s most beautiful."

Posted-In: Jeff Stibel Kobe BryantEntrepreneurship Movers & Shakers Sports Top Stories Startups General Best of Benzinga


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