Kobe Bryant, the recently retired Los Angeles Lakers guard, has been solidifying his business plan since his absence from the basketball court. Kobe and his business partner of four years, Jeff Stibel are planning to invest $100 million of their own money in major tech ventures and start-ups according to the Wall Street Journal. This comes in addition to all their previous investments together.
Investing in technology, especially new and cutting edge technology is just part of what defines the Bryant and Stibel business model. Their investment firm, known as Bryant Stibel, is based in the Los Angeles area and already owns substantial holdings in 15 different companies. Among their investments is The Player’s Tribune which is a sports media site as well as Scopely videogames. LegalZoom, a company that offers legal services and a telemarketing-software company called RingDNA are also among the companies they have chosen.
Since Kobe Bryant’s retirement from the LA Lakers, the partners intend to take on a more aggressive model. They will be investing $100 million in new start-ups and making a real difference in the industry by supporting worthy ideas.
Investing in technology together the two men have come to trust each other, and they are confident in their decisions enough to take on these aggressive investments in groundbreaking innovation. While most, if not all of the investments will be in the field of technology, the ideas will continue to be as diverse as the companies they have chosen in the past.
Kobe Bryant has chosen an excellent partner with a great track record. Jeff Stibel is the chairman of BrainGate according to CBS News. BrainGate is a promising cutting edge technology that allows the interface of the human brain with man-made technological devices. So far it is being used for medical applications to help the severely handicapped, but there is a strong probability that this technology could expand to endless commercial applications in time. Stibel is also Dun & Bradstreet’s vice chairman and the former president of Web.com.
Investing in technology is sound business, even in this economy, but start-ups can be risky. At some point, though, Kobe is most invested in helping businesses that can help people, as well as make money. At this point, the partners are risking no one’s money but their own. The firm is not taking outside investors at this time. Stibel says one deciding point in choosing a company to invest in is adding real value to the portfolio.
“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.”
Kobe Bryant is looking for work ethic among those who seek to gain his financial backing. Bryant knows what it takes, inside to create success whether he is investing in technology or helping young athletes. Kobe explains his strategy of picking the kind of people he wants to invest in, to The Wall Street Journal.
“Sometimes you can spot it right away, other times not so much. 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.”
Kobe Bryant’s partner Jeff Stibel agrees.
“The most important things are grit and intelligence. You have to have that passion that you can succeed. The business and idea will change over and over again. But the entrepreneur persists.”
Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel are not just investing in technology they are investing in the people who are creating the future.
[Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images]