Black Tech Entrepreneurs, Culture, Entertainment, kobe bryant venutre capital, kobe retire, retired lakers player, Technology -

Kobe Bryant Launches $100M Venture Capital Fund – How Will Black Entrepreneurs Factor In?

Black Tech Entrepreneurs, Culture, Entertainment, kobe bryant venutre capital, kobe retire, retired lakers player, Technology -

Kobe Bryant Launches $100M Venture Capital Fund – How Will Black Entrepreneurs Factor In?

Jeff Stibel and Kobe Bryant launch new venture fund capital Bryant Stibel (NYSE Twitter)
Jeff Stibel and Kobe Bryant launch new venture fund capital Bryant Stibel (NYSE Twitter)

Kobe Bryant unveiled his post-retirement game plan today with a new self-funded venture capital firm. Jeff Stibel — formerly of Web.com — co-manages Bryant Stibel with the ex-baller. It marks the duo’s first official investment teaming.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the $100 million fund will invest in the tech, media and data areas.

Since 2013, Bryant and Stibel have informally funded 15 companies.

Now with Bryant Stibel, the group is currently invested in 13 companies, such as The Players Tribune and LegalZoom. The Los Angeles, California-based firm is not looking for outside investments.

For others seeking funding, the former Lakers forward told WSJ he seeks entrepreneurs with tenacity.

“It’s the inner belief that a person has that he will endure no matter what the obstacle may be,” he said. It’s that persistence, the entrepreneur doing what he or she truly believes in and truly loves to do.”

Still, Stibel does not want companies to use Bryant’s name for promotion.

“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.”

Forbes reports Bryant began working on the Bryant Stibel idea four years ago, ahead of his retirement announcement from the NBA. He told the finance magazine other athletes looking to get into the investment world should discover their passions early in their competitive careers and vigorously pursue them.

Access to investment firms may be easy for athletes with clout. But many hopeful Black tech entrepreneurs face trouble with funding.

According to Atlanta Black Star, venture capital typically works as an “old boys club.” The white-male-dominated industry relies on their friends or previous successes. African-Americans typically don’t have connections to such investors. The lack of involvement in STEM also creates an issue.

But there are movements to change that.

Illinois’ Code2040 Entrepreneurs in Residence works to identify Chicago-area tech companies founded by Black entrepreneurs to make them easier to find for investors.

Rapper Lupe Fiasco launched the Neighborhood Start Fund in 2015 to support underserved Black and Latino business people.

And earlier this year, Monique Woodard became 500 Startups’ first African-American venture partner. The move looks to increase investments in Black and Latino tech entrepreneurs.


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