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NBA champion Kyle Kuzma appears to be like to convey his crew mentality to Scrum Ventures


Kyle Kuzma is a number of issues. He’s a ahead for the Washington Wizards NBA crew and a 2020 NBA champion. He’s additionally a method icon — relying on who you ask — and an angel investor. Now he’s an adviser at a enterprise fund too.

“I’m a part of a brand new era of the NBA,” Kuzma instructed TechCrunch in a cellphone interview. “For me, I’ve at all times been a hustler and someone that could be very taken with enterprise and doing issues simply to arrange my household’s generational wealth. I feel moving into enterprise is just going to take that to a distinct stratosphere.”

Kuzma, 28, joined early-stage-focused Scrum Ventures in March as an adviser to assist with the agency’s sports activities and leisure fund, which is concentrating on $120 million. The partnership began in January when Kuzma’s agent, Austin Eastman, was linked to Scrum managing director and accomplice Michael Proman. Kuzma mentioned he was impressed with Scrum’s crew. Proman mentioned the optimistic sentiment was mutual.

“The factor about Kyle is, I personally didn’t actually even perceive how in depth his pursuits had been within the enterprise area till after getting launched,” Proman, a former NBA worker on the enterprise growth crew, mentioned. “Kyle is absolutely taken with understanding the enterprise playbook however extra so from the enterprise facet.”

Proman mentioned Scrum’s sports activities fund, the place Kuzma will probably be serving to, is a bit totally different than different sports-focused VC funds, as a result of it focuses on tech that may very well be helpful to athletes or enterprise sports activities clients and can also be relevant to different industries. Ozlo Sleepbuds is an efficient instance. The corporate makes earbuds to assist folks sleep higher. Whereas sleeping properly is extremely vital for athletes, it’s vital far past skilled sports activities too. Scrum participated within the firm’s $6 million seed spherical earlier this 12 months.

Scrum’s broad strategy to sports activities tech makes Kuzma an excellent adviser, versus one other NBA participant, Proman mentioned, as a result of Kuzma has already invested throughout a number of sectors. Kuzma began angel investing in 2020 and has constructed up a portfolio that features soda different Lemon Excellent, which has gone on to boost an extra $67.8 million in enterprise capital; shopper knowledge firm, Surf; and watch market, Bezel.

“His funding portfolio is fairly numerous; it’s not simply your traditional sports activities tech,” Proman mentioned. “There are a number of of us on the market that wish to make investments into what they do 24/7, and whereas they could be nice at offering insights and evaluation of these applied sciences, in lots of circumstances these aren’t venture-backable applied sciences.”

Kuzma mentioned he plans to be a hands-on investor, and whereas he is aware of a reputation like his may very well be a advertising boon for the businesses he works with, he mentioned he doesn’t simply wish to relaxation there and would fairly use his standing to assist corporations develop their community utilizing his connections. He additionally thinks his expertise taking part in basketball makes him an excellent match as a VC as a result of he’s used to working in a aggressive atmosphere the place you don’t succeed except you’re employed as a crew.

“I convey a aggressive nature,” he mentioned. “If you play sports activities on the highest degree just like the NBA, you’re taking part in chess and never checkers. We’re sensible; we’re not simply athletes. We’re not simply those that play sports activities and never do the rest.”

Kuzma’s presence has already proved useful for the agency, Proman mentioned, as working with an athlete like Kuzma has led to an uptick in inbound curiosity within the agency. Good inbound curiosity — he clarified.

Kuzma isn’t the primary NBA participant to get entangled with enterprise capital. Kevin Durant’s household workplace, 35V, invests closely in startups. Steph Curry is the anchor LP of Penny Jar Capital. Former gamers like Andre Iguodala and Michael Redd have taken extra formal roles within the business, too, by launching corporations of their very own, Mosaic and 22 Ventures, respectively. Kuzma is the most recent NBA participant to dive into enterprise, however he possible gained’t be the most recent for lengthy.

“Becoming a member of Scrum Ventures is absolutely thrilling for me,” Kuzma mentioned. “I wish to additional my portfolio and simply my attain within the VC world. As athletes, they at all times let you know to diversify your portfolio as a lot as you possibly can. That is the following iteration of me as an entrepreneur.”




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