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January 27, 2020

That Time Kobe Bryant Launched a $100 Million Venture Capital Fund

Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel

Kobe Bryant was retired from playing professional basketball, but truthfully he was anything but retired. In 2016, he created an investment fund to help future start-up companies.
Bryant and his investor friend, Jeff Stibel, launched a $100 million venture capital fund called Bryant Stibel in Los Angeles to help entrepreneurs in the media, technology and data industries. What is amazing is that they launched the fund all by themselves, and did not request any assistance from outside investors.

But why?

It turns out that Bryant had a long-time passion for business and entrepreneurship. In fact, he had been a venture capitalist all along, even during his basketball days. From 2013 to 2016, he and Stibel  invested in 15 businesses together. From 2016 to 2020, the invested in dozens more.

Bryant once said that his motivation was not to enhance the Kobe Bryant brand, but to add real value. He explained, "It’s that persistence, the entrepreneur doing what he or she truly believes in and truly loves to do.”

Bryant would often say that he had a real flair for choosing promising entrepreneurs, and this statement couldn't be any more true. His competitive nature on the basketball court and his insistence on doing things perfectly contributed immensely to the success of his VC fund. It was a win/win for Kobe, his partner, and for all the entrepreneurs their fund supports.

Hopefully, one day we will see his children running the profitable enterprise that their dad left behind.


Check out his valuable advice to other retired NBA players: