Last week, NBA star Kevin Durant withdrew his trade application and accepted the Brooklyn Nets’ “recruitment”. Team owner Cai Chongxin finally breathed a sigh of relief. A series of farce about leaving the team for nearly two months finally ended.
When Curry led the Warriors from a low point to the top of the NBA again, Durant, who chose to leave three years ago and came to Brooklyn to start a new hill, began to fall into a very embarrassing situation. This summer, he has always been at the center of the whirlpool of public opinion— —Almost all the media and fans are questioning the gold content of his consecutive championships with the Golden State Warriors and two FMVPs (Finals Most Valuable Player) from 2017 to 2018, and even NBA officials released it at this year’s draft The animations also seem to be pointing directly at him as a “champion of hitchhikers”. Amid the layers of doubts, people seem to be about to forget how brilliant Durant was in Golden State back then, and he had the momentum to be the number one player in the league.
But no matter what, Kevin Durant can still be in the top ranks in the NBA, and his performance on the off-court investment track is rarely known in China, but it is also wonderful.
During his time with the Golden State Warriors, in addition to crazily harvesting championships and honors on the court, and relying on Silicon Valley, the mecca for technological entrepreneurship, Durant also obtained the top investment resources and contacts off the court. As early as 2016, when he first came to the Warriors, Durant established a relationship with Brian Armstrong, CEO of the encrypted platform Coinbase, and later participated in Coinbase’s D round of financing. His investment share in Coinbase rose to 100% last year. 53 times. In addition, Durant became the image spokesperson of Coinbase at the end of last year, and his investment company Thirty Five Ventures also established a strategic marketing partnership with it, and the cooperation between the two parties became closer.
Hold tight to a16z “thighs” and have invested in hundreds of companies
In 2016, Durant and his friend and agent Rich Kleiman founded Thirty Five Ventures, an investment firm focused on fintech, cryptocurrency, health and wellness, media, and more. Rand creates the foundation of his own business empire.With his deep relationships in venture capital and private equity, 35 Ventures has grown step by step, with a portfolio of more than 100 to date, and deep strategic collaborations with select partners in strategy, content and marketing initiatives.
Just two years into its existence, 35 Ventures has made early-stage investments of $250,000 to $1 million in about 30 companies, in addition to online digital currency platform Coinbase, spare parts app Acorns, cloud computing startup Rubrik, fast-casual Pizza chain Pieology, bike-sharing company LimeBike and delivery company Postmates, among others.How can a basketball player have the confidence and ability to deal with turbulent business investments?
How As mentioned above, after Durant left Oklahoma and chose to join the Golden State Warriors, he not only worked with Curry to establish the Warriors’ absolute dominance in the NBA, but also made full use of the unique business resources of the Bay Area. , and began to follow the venture capital bigwigs to play investment. Durant once said in an interview with the sports media ESPN that he has people like Ron Conway, a famous angel investor in Silicon Valley, an early investor in Google and Facebook, and Ben Horowitz, co-founder of a16z, a top venture capital institution. ) such a mentor, and also maintains a good friendship with a16z partner Chris Lyons and others. This is indeed the case. Looking through the investment list of Thirty Five Ventures, it is easy to find that top venture capital institutions such as a16z will always be the leaders in the projects they invest in, such as the payment application Valora based on the Celo platform, the sports social and gaming platform sleeper, Startups such as fintech startup Titan and artificial intelligence healthcare company Memora Health are basically projects led by a16z.
In addition to private information sharing and exchanges, Durant has also launched a formal official cooperation with a16z. In 2018, a16z took the initiative to launch a special fund called “Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF)” and eventually raised $15 million. In addition to movie star Will Smith (Will Smith), Durant also participated. among them. CLF aims to purposefully focus on creating opportunities for people of color in tech, and a16z has also pledged to donate 100% of its management fees and carried interest to nonprofits that help the black community and increase the participation of people of color in the tech industry .
In addition, CLF connects cultural leaders with portfolio companies and facilitates equity partnership deals. Cultural leaders can potentially earn more than sponsorships and endorsements by incentivizing them with a small stake in the company, while companies use their visibility and influence to further expand their business. Through this model, a16z has reached cooperation with encryption companies such as Dapper Labs, a well-known NFT development company, and OpenSea, an NFT platform. Durant also participated in the investment of these two companies when they raised funds last year.However, in addition to copying Big Brother’s “homework”, Durant’s passion for NFTs is also an important reason for him to participate in these two large-scale investments.
Passionate about digital collections, deploying multiple vertical fields of NFT
According to the investment portfolio of Thirty Five Ventures, it can be seen that Durant has a clear preference for companies in the collectibles category. The traditional collectibles trading platforms he invests in are: Collectors, collectable, goldin and starstock. The main collections of these platforms are stars. Cards, sportswear, etc. At a time when the digital collection of NFTs is all the rage, he will naturally not miss his attention to this track, not to mention that he is one of the protagonists of the well-known NFT project NBA Top Shot.
NBA Top Shot, co-created by the NBA with Dapper Labs, is the first NBA digital collectible game, launched in October 2020. Its general framework is “NFT + traditional star card”, but different from the traditional printed card, the digital version of the card has a more flexible presentation. In addition to pictures and text, the NBA Top Shot’s card also contains a specific wonderful moment. . These digital star cards have attracted the attention and active participation of many NFT enthusiasts, NBA fans, and collectors of physical star cards, and are one of the most popular NFT projects.
Last March, Dapper Labs raised $305 million in funding from more than 30 well-known investors, including Durant and Michael Jordan. Six months later, Dapper Labs has entered into a two-year partnership with Boardroom, a media company owned by Thirty Five Ventures, that will provide fans with giveaways, highlight moments and behind-the-scenes video recordings through a co-branded campaign. Soon, NBA Top Shot launched a TV and social media ad campaign featuring Durant in January of this year and gave out a free Durant NFT “moment” to those who purchased a Top Shot pack for the first time.
Regarding the prospects and development of NBA Top Shot and NFT, Durant is very confident, and also submitted 26 trademark applications for Metaverse and NFT in May this year. “Top Shot is the future of basketball fans, bringing them closer to players and building communities across the game of basketball in novel ways. We’ve also been at the forefront of the NFT space and I’m excited to partner with NFTs to take NFTs even further Push to the mainstream.” At about the same time, Thirty Five Ventures established a commercial partnership with Coinbase, under which Thirty Five Ventures would co-create NFT works with Coinbase. In addition, the partnership will also feature philanthropic integration with the Kevin Durant Charitable Foundation, to carry out education and other activities around encryption, NFT journalism and creation, philanthropy, and more.
In addition to the above-mentioned well-known companies, Durant has also invested in a number of NFT projects, including games, wallets, digital collections, and more.
• Participated in the $18 million Series A round of Rainbow, a Web3 mobile wallet startup. As a crypto startup building mobile wallet applications, Rainbow allows users to interact with decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain and try to start from the process Extract as much technical knowledge as possible to make buying or selling NFTs as easy as possible.
• Participated in the seed round of Web3 gaming startup Artie, which eventually raised $10 million. Artie is dedicated to building app-free mobile gaming technology, creating an immersive Metaverse of instantly accessible mobile games and authentic interactive experiences. According to the official statement, its second-generation Artie NFT “I’m Have Dead” is expected to be launched in a month, jointly created by artist Junkyard and the well-known music production group Take A Daytrip.
• Invested in the New York Subliners (NYSL), an e-sports team owned by Andbox, which belongs to the American Professional Call of Duty League (CDL). Half a year later, NYSL announced the launch of a team-specific NFT based on the public chain Flow. This series of digital collections will record NYSL’s past and future honors and high-profile performances on the field. This is also the first attempt to combine CDL and NFT.
• Participated in the A-round financing of Hang, an NFT membership platform. Hang plans to use NFT to connect brands with members and motivate customers with rewards and allowances. Currently, Hang has cooperated with brands such as Budweiser and Pinkberry.
• Invest in NFT studio Through The Lens, a project to provide unique digital collectibles centered around the personal brands of athletes and celebrities, connecting fans with them through digital collectibles and building a tight-knit community.
“Don’t do things just for money, don’t do things for fame. Do things because it makes you feel right, it feels real.” Durant said this when it comes to his best business advice. Just like many investment institutions and projects have been reorganized, cultivated internal strength, and revived in the cold winter of encryption, Durant’s career has come to a crossroad. If he can stick to the Nets, he will climb from the bottom like Curry. Coming out may win more respect, and it is also the most correct path at present. Who can see the moon when there are no storms and strong rains.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/nba-durants-crypto-investment-landscape/
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