Photo via Erik Drost/Flickr (CC-BY)
The firm was announced as a partnership with Jeff Stibel, the former president and CEO of Web.com. The two put their heads together and, in a show of creative genius, developed the name Bryant Stibel for their newfound investment organization.
While the Bryant-Stibel collaboration was made public Monday, the two have been in business since 2013, investing in 15 businesses together including the Players Tribune, an online sports publication founded by former New York Yankees player Derek Jeter; Scopely, a mobile game developer; online legal document service LegalZoom; and Juicero, a $700 Keurig-style appliance for at-home juicing.
According to research conducted by Harvard Business School lecturer Shikhar Ghosh, about three in four venture capital firms fail. Bryant spent the last few years of his NBA career adjusting to that success rate, as his Los Angeles Lakers teams lost games at about the same rate.
Venture capitalist Chris Sacca spoke earlier this year on the Bill Simmons Podcast about his discussions with Bryant about investing in businesses. Sacca said the former NBA star became obsessed with researching the topic and contacted him regularly, often in the middle of the night.
At one point, when the two were planning to set up a business together, Sacca asked Bryant what he wanted to name the project and Bryant suggested "13." When Sacca asked why, Bryant—who was drafted 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft—replied, "Can you believe they drafted 12 other motherfuckers before me?"
Bryant isn't the first NBA player to get into the venture capital game; New York Knicks star and recent three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony launched Melo7 Tech Partners earlier this year for the purposes of investing in early-stage technology startups.