Most of us know of Kevin Durant as the 2017 NBA Finals MVP of the Golden State Warriors, but how well do any of us know him as tech VC and blockchain enthusiast?
Kevin Durant is the leading investor in The Durant Company, with over 30 investments to date. His recent talk with his partner Rich Kleiman at Techcrunch’s Disrupt SF 2017 gave more insight into the inner workings of an NBA Venture Capitalist.
NBA Players and Tech
Not many NBA players are known outside of their dunking, passing, or 3 point shooting, but things are different in the Bay Area. This trend began with Warriors teammate and former 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. Iguodala’s passion for VC investment started once he signed on with the Warriors and looked for new ways to invest his money. That interest and hobby have now spread to the rest of the team with successful results.
Silicon Valley and the NBA
Moving from Oklahoma City has been quite the experience for Kevin Durant. Silicon Valley is in its own tech world – and he loves it. During NBA games, Durant and several members of the Warriors team can be seen getting pitches from VCs sitting near the bench. The reigning NBA champions have intensive training schedules and even the VCs struggle to set up meetings with these NBA investors. When asked about these conversations, Durant mentioned: “We’d never have been introduced to a drone startup in Oklahoma City”
“We’d never have been introduced to a drone startup in Oklahoma City”
The usual investment for a seed round of funding between $50,000 – $250,000 and a Series A between $250,000 to $2 million, though exceptions exist. We asked The Durant Company which investments they had made and their response surprised us. They don’t “chase” startups. They only invest in ideas that they really believe in. This basket of investments includes several well-known startups like the investment app Acorns and the delivery app Postmates. The one that really caught our attention was his mention of Ethereum.
Durant and the Blockchain
Both Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, and Durant were at Disrupt SF 2017 earlier this week. It should be no surprise for a VC to not hear about emerging technologies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the blockchain. When asked his opinion on Ethereum, Durant described it as the “Michael Jordan” of blockchain technology. His partner and deal maker Kleiman described their investment philosophy as focusing only on technologies that they “could utilize in their own lives” or those with a solid executive team. Ethereum fits those 2 criteria perfectly.
Kevin “Crypto” Durant?
Lately, many celebrities have been jumping onboard the trend of endorse emerging blockchain technologies. Athletes such as Floyd Mayweather have openly promoted ICOs – Initial Coin Offerings. These promotions of “altcoins” are based on blockchain technologies. In addition to Ethereum, The Durant Company and other venture capitalists have expressed huge interest in Bitcoin and lesser-known tokens. When asked about the starting their own token, The Durant Company deflected and responded with “anything is a possibility”.
Will the NBA be soon called the “National Bitcoin Association”? It’s hard to tell but if things are going at that pace, then we sure want to jump in on their Initial Coin Offering.