New trend: Former sports pros going pro in venture capital - Philly


May 17, 2018 12:59 pm

New trend: Former sports pros going pro in venture capital

Former NFL running back DeMarco Murray and Phillies slugger Ryan Howard told Forbes more athletes are looking at tech investing after their playing days are over.

Ryan Howard (center) with Wayne Kimmel and Jon Powell from SeventySix Capital.

(Courtesy photo)

As Phillies slugger Ryan Howard searched for a second act to his career in baseball, the world of venture capital beckoned. And, he says, others are following suit.

“Before I got to life after baseball, I asked myself, ‘When my cleats are hung up, what am I gonna do?,” said Howard in a recent interview with Forbes. “I think more and more athletes do get that.”

Howard — a partner with Conshohocken-based SeventySix Capital — and NFL running back DeMarco Murray spoke to Forbes about the ongoing narrative of sports-pro-turned-tech-investors.

“An NFL career can be short,” Howard told writer Andy Frye. “It’s important to be set up for success off-the-field.”

Howard’s firm announced, at the end of last year, the initial close of a $10 million fund that will focus on sports technology startups, as well as health, wellness and the “future of retail.” The former Phillies first baseman helped lead two of the firm’s more recent deals: investments in esports firm N3rd Street Gamers and Play by Play Sports Broadcasting Camps.

SeventySix Capital Managing Director Wayne Kimmel said athletes like Howard can add also value to deals by tapping into their networks.

“Athletes today have more than just their financial capital, they also have social capital,” Kimmel said. “Being able to leverage that social capital of athletes can really help us accelerate our companies. And it helps us help entrepreneurs to be incredibly successful.”

Read the full story on Forbes.

We also heard recently that former Flyers center Danny Brière is getting into the investment game.

Companies: SeventySix Capital
People: Wayne Kimmel
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