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Athletes need a fallback plan once their bodies can no longer compete, and for former pro basketball player Carmelo Anthony, it’s investing in tech startups.
Today, Anthony and former Bertelsmann Direct North America chief executive Stuart Goldfarb are announcing the formation of a new venture capital fund, M7 Tech Partners. M7’s first investment is Hullabalu, a company that makes story-based tablet apps for kids.
The new fund’s office will be located in New York City, and it will be focused on “early stage digital media, consumer Internet, and technology ventures,” according to an official statement.
Anthony is best known for his career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), playing for the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, as well as being part of the U.S. national basketball team that won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in technology. We are actively looking for ventures with strong leaders creating breakthrough products that resonate with consumers. I particularly have my eye on companies that are involved with wearable technology and connected devices — these will be huge areas for the future,” Anthony said in a statement.
The fund’s name, “M7,” stands for “’Melo seven,” Anthony’s nickname and jersey number on the New York Knicks team.
As for Goldfarb, he previously headed Bertelsmann Direct North America, a direct marketing company for movies, music, and books. Before that, he was NBC’s executive vice president for worldwide business development. He’s also not new to the tech and startup world: He’s been on social commerce company Beachmint’s board of directors since 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The fund will not have outside investors or limited partners, and the partners won’t be taking the lead on any investments.
While the career shift is a bit unusual, Anthony is not the only athlete or entertainer investing in technology companies. Actor Ashton Kutcher, for example, has made several investments in tech startups and has attended a couple of Y Combinator demo days already.
M7 participated in Hullabalu’s May 2013 seed round. Other investors in Hullabalu include SV Angel, Gary Vaynerchuk, Gokul Rajaram, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
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