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From steals to deals: The startups behind Andre Iguodala’s rise in VC

The world of VC loves the Golden State Warriors. And the Warriors love the world of VC. In recent years, some of the team’s stars have been building their portfolios—including Andre Iguodala.

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The world of VC loves the Golden State Warriors. Former Kleiner Perkins managing partner Joe Lacob is the team’s majority owner. Another part-owner with VC ties, Mark Stevens, reportedly played an unfortunate role in Wednesday’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals. At home games, the first few rows of seats are always dotted with investors and entrepreneurs wearing polo shirts and Patagonia.

And in return, the Golden State Warriors love the world of VC. In recent years, some of the team’s players have capitalized on their cash, connections and proximity to Silicon Valley to begin building investment portfolios of their own. Kevin Durant holds stakes in a range of high-profile companies, including Lime, Postmates and Acorns. Stephen Curry has made a handful of VC investments, most recently joining a $21.2 million Series A round for AI-based travel assistance startup SnapTravel last December.

The most prolific one of the bunch, though, might be Andre Iguodala, a 35-year-old swingman with obvious ambitions off the basketball court. He’s been investing for several years now, gracing the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek back in 2017 and building a portfolio that includes at least two companies that conducted big-ticket IPOs this year, as well as several other buzzy startups that have raised millions in VC backing. Iguodala is also an executive vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, and he has a forthcoming memoir called “The Sixth Man.”

What sorts of businesses have drawn Iguodala’s interest? Here’s a rundown of some of his most notable investments:

Zoom Video Communications

Iguodala was among those watching with great interest as Zoom‘s stock price shot up in the aftermath of its IPO in April. In an interview with Yahoo Finance earlier this year, Iguodala’s business partner, Rudy Cline-Thomas, pointed to the teleconferencing startup as an example of what types of businesses the two like to target: “The enterprise companies are the investments we really really love,” he said. Cline-Thomas highlighted Carta, a valuation software provider, as another similar business in the pair’s portfolio.


Earlier this year, Iguodala joined the board of Jumia, an ecommerce startup that’s attempting to create an Amazon-like presence in Africa. The company reportedly attained unicorn status with a €300 million (about $326 million at the time) funding in 2016, and it went public this April. After pricing that IPO at $14.50 per share, stock in Jumia initially shot up to nearly $50, but its since settled down to around $26 per share—still a significant increase from that initial figure.


In 2017, Iguodala took part in a $170 million Series C that valued Casper at $920 million. He was one of several celebrity investors, including fellow NBA all-stars Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving, who took part in the investment for the mattress startup. A handful of big-name VCs, such as NEA and IVP, were also in on the deal. Casper raised its latest round of funding this March, bringing in $100 million at a valuation of nearly $1.1 billion.

The Players’ Tribune

The Players’ Tribune was co-founded in 2014 by Derek Jeter as a platform for athletes to publish first-person stories—an idea that would have obvious appeal to other professional athletes like Iguodala. Kobe Bryant also reportedly owns a stake in the company, and once again, NEA is also an investor. The Players’ Tribune was last valued at $140 million in 2017 with a $40 million Series C.


Iguodala is also an investor in Mayvenn, which reportedly raised $23 million in November. The round valued the business, which makes and sells hair extensions and other beauty products, at $113 million. Serena Williams is also said to be a backer of the company, as are VCs like Andreessen Horowitz and Trinity Ventures.

Featured image of Iguodala at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in 2015 via Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch/CC BY 2.0

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    Written by Kevin Dowd

    Kevin Dowd wrote The Weekend Pitch newsletter for PitchBook, covering startups, buyouts and the rest of the private market.

    A native of the Pacific Northwest, he’s an alumnus of the University of Washington with a degree in creative writing and journalism. He enjoys books and basketball and, most especially, books about basketball. He feels uncomfortable writing about himself in the third person.

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