Athletes are turning to venture capital

If it seems like everyone you know (and know of) is becoming a venture capitalist these days… yes, yes they are.

What happened: Six-time Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse is joining a small group of elite athletes, including Serena Williams and Steph Curry, in the world of venture capital. Per The Globe and Mail, the sprinter has launched ADG Ignite Venture, a Canadian fund. 

  • De Grasse’s advisor bench includes Bay Street heavy-hitter John Ruffolo, retired decathlete Michael Smith, and BioSteel founder Matt Nichol, writes Sean Silcoff.

  • His portfolio includes Plantiga Technologies (a smart insole maker), Tut Fitness (a gym equipment manufacturer), and Headversity (an online mental health provider). 

Why it matters: What A-list athletes lack in business experience, they make up in pure star power. While traditional funds are defined by their start-up savvy, some founders see the endorsement of an Olympian as equally valuable when giving up a stake in their company. 

  • Backed by a team that helps structure investments and provide advisory services to asses deals, it’s a model that any athlete with the right connections can step into. 

Zoom out: From Alex Rodriguez to Ryan Reynolds to Kim Kardashian, athletes, actors, and reality TV stars are seeing the value of diversifying into business ventures beyond their primary careers, capitalizing on their influence and seeing their bank balances grow.—SB