NBA champion Kyle Kuzma looks to bring his team mentality to Scrum Ventures | TechCrunch

NBA champion Kyle Kuzma looks to bring his team mentality to Scrum Ventures | TechCrunch

Kyle Kuzma is many things. He is a forward for the Washington Wizards NBA team and the 2020 NBA champion. She's also a style icon – depending on her. Who do you ask? – and an angel investor. Now he is also a consultant in a venture fund.

“I'm part of a new generation of NBA,” Kuzma told TechCrunch in a phone interview. “For me, I've always been a hustler and someone who's very interested in business and just working to build my family's generational wealth. I think joining a venture is just a different thing. About to take off into the stratosphere.

Kuzma, 28, joined early-stage-focused Scrum Ventures in March to help fund the firm's sports and entertainment fund, which is targeting $120 million. The partnership began in January when Kuzma's agent, Austin Eastman, connected with Scrum managing director and partner Michael Proman. Kuzma said he was very impressed with the Scrum team. Perman said the positive feelings were mutual.

“The thing about Kyle is, I personally didn't even realize how broad his interest in the venture space was until after I was introduced,” said Proman, a former NBA employee on the business development team. said “Kyle is really interested in understanding the venture playbook but more so from the venture side.”

Proman said Scrum's sports fund, where Kuzma will help, is a little different from other sports-focused VC funds, as it focuses on tech that can be useful for athletes or enterprise sports users and on other industries. Also applies. Oslo Sleep Buds is a good example. The company makes earbuds to help people sleep better. While sleeping well is incredibly important for athletes, it is much more important than professional sports. Scrum participated in the company's $6 million seed round earlier this year.

Scrum's broad approach to sports tech makes Kuzma a better advisor than another NBA player, Proman said, because Kuzma is already invested in many areas. Kuzma began angel investing in 2020 and built a portfolio that includes soda alternative Lemon Perfect, which has since grown. $67.8 million in venture capital; Consumer Data Company, Surf; And see Bazaar, Basel.

“His investment portfolio is quite diverse. It's not just your classic sports tech,” Proman said. “There are a lot of people who want to invest in what they do 24/7, and while they can be great at providing insight and analysis about these technologies, in many cases those tech There are no logic.”

Kuzma said he plans to be a hands-on investor, and while he knows his name can lead to marketing for the companies he works with, he said he just Don't want to rest there and will use your position. Help companies expand their network using their connections. He also thinks his experience playing basketball makes him a good fit as a VC because he's used to working in a competitive environment where you don't succeed unless you work as a team. .

“I bring a competitive nature,” he said. “When you play a game at a high level like the NBA, you're playing chess, not checkers. We're smart; we're not just players. We're not just guys who play the game and do nothing.

Kuzma's presence has already been beneficial for the firm, Proman said, as working with an athlete like Kuzma has increased internal interest in the firm. Good internal interest – he clarified.

Kuzma isn't the first NBA player to venture into venture capital. Kevin Durant's family office, 35V, invests heavily in startups. Steph Curry is the anchor LP of Penny Jar Capital. Former players like Andre Iguodala and Michael Reid have also taken on more formal roles in the industry, starting their companies Mosaic and 22 Ventures, respectively. Kuzma is the latest NBA player to dive into the venture, but he won't be the latest for long.

“Joining Scrum Ventures is really exciting for me,” said Kuzma. “I want to grow my portfolio and just get into the VC world. As an athlete, they always tell you to diversify your portfolio as much as possible. That's what I do as an entrepreneur. Next is the iteration.

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