171. Sports Tech and the Future of eSports (Wayne Kimmel)

Full Ratchet Wayne Kimmel

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Wayne Kimmel of SeventySix Capital joins Nick to discuss Sports Tech and the Future of eSports. In this episode, we cover:

  • Talk about the investment focus and approach of your firm
  • When did Ryan Howard start working w/ you and how did he become a part of the leadership team?
  • Talk a bit about sportstech has evolved over the past decade.
  • All these players or former players are getting involved on the investment-side… some pretty savvy, some more green… good thing or bad thing?
  • What lens or framework does your firm use to segment the sportstech landscape?
  • I’ve heard SportsTech categorized into Athlete performance tech, broadcast audience enjoyment tech, and In-person experience tech. Do you consider startups in these categories and where have you seen the most opportunities?
  • eSports (ie. video games as a sport)… has exploded in popularity. Talk a bit about what you’re seeing in esports and how you’re approaching it from an investment standpoint.
  • I know a number of sports tech investors that avoid the youth, amateur and collegiate markets, b/c they think all the money is in the professional markets. Missed opportunity or is there something to this position?
  • Lessons from owning the USFL champions, the Stars?
  • What are the specific ways you get involved with portfolio companies?
  • You’ve spoken a lot about the importance of networking, and even wrote a book about it. What key lessons do you have for listeners w/ regard to networking?”

Guest Links:

Key Takeaways:

  1. Andre Iguadola runs a player’s tech summit every year in SF with attendees including Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Agassi, Joe Montana, and many others.
  2. Wayne believes the traits required to be successful as an entrepreneur are the same traits that these professional athletes have mastered on the field.
  3. Getting back up when you’ve been knocked down may be the most trait for athletes and founders.
  4. The two primary sports tech areas they focus on are e-sports and sports betting.
  5. Many VCs categorize sports tech into three categories 1) Athlete performance 2) Broadcast audience enjoyment and 3) in-person experience.
  6. SeventySix also makes investments at the convergence of Sports and Retail– providing places for folks to play, learn and be entertained.
  7. Wayne expects amateur arenas, all across the U.S., to exists within the next 3-5 years.
  8. The enthusiasm and engagement of e-sports fans often exceeds that of fans of the big 4 sports (football, basketball, baseball, hockey).
  9. Within the professional ranks, there are fewer enterprise clients (teams) and they are highly secretive of the tech they’re using.
  10. Within the amateur market for e-sports, the little leagues, highschool leagues, AAU circuits, etc. have not been setup yet. Many new markets will be created.
  11. The most important aspect to networking is getting up off the couch. You need to get out and meet people in-person.
  12. Business cards are still critical in today’s digital world. It’s a great ice breaker and a way to stay in touch.
  13. Entrepreneurship is never a straight line to the top. There will be dark times and many opportunities to give up. Pure hustle is what it’s all about.

Transcribed with AI:

welcome to the podcast about investing in startups, where existing investors can learn how to get the best deal possible. And those that have never before invested in startups can learn the keys to success from the venture experts. Your host is Nick Moran and this is the full ratchet

Welcome back to TFR today we dive into sports tech investing with VC Wayne Kimmel of 76 capital. In this episode, we discuss his entrepreneurial journey to becoming a VC how he formed an investment partnership with MLB superstar Ryan Howard, the evolution of sports tech the unique opportunities across the landscape. How the influx of athlete and celebrity investors has affected the space where eSports is headed, and why so many VCs avoid the amateur sports markets. Here’s the interview with Wayne Kimmel of 76 capital.

Managing Partner of 76 Capital Wayne Kimmel joins us today from Philadelphia 76 Capital invest in entrepreneurs with Game Changing tech in the sports, retail and wellness industries. Wayne founded the firm in 1999 and leads it with John Powell and Major League Baseball superstar Ryan Howard. Since inception, they’ve made 50 investments with 13 exits, five of which were acquired by Fortune 500 companies, including Aramark, Intel, IBM, Walgreens, and Yahoo, the enthusiasm and capital deployed into sports tech is at an all time high. And we’re excited to have an expert in the category here today. Wayne, welcome to the program. Hey, Nick, thanks so much for having me. It’s it’s exciting to be on your show. Yeah, it’s been a while since we last chatted. But you know, I’d like to hear sort of the background and the backstory to your sort of entry into venture.

Well, look, I mean, it’s it’s been a, it’s been a great ride. And, you know, being a guy who’s been a Philly fan, Philly sports fan for my whole life. It’s exciting to build our venture capital company here in the Philadelphia area and have such, and just the opportunity have such great partners. You know, having a guy like John Powell is a partner of mine who built the King of Prussia Mall, one of the country’s biggest malls, and certainly the biggest mall here in the Philadelphia area. And having one of the biggest Philly sports stars and Ryan Howard, who brought the oh eight World Series championship to Philadelphia, is great to have them as partners in everything that we do here at 76. Capital and about our businesses is all based on you know, and, and everything goes back to our mission. And our mission statement here at services capital is to work with smart and nice people who want to change the world. And to me, that’s what entrepreneurship is all about. And those are the kinds of entrepreneurs that we want to work with and, and build really big businesses together. That’s great. So, so you started in 99? And was that sort of independent investing on your own? Or did you manage a fund at that point? Yeah, you know, back in 99, I was 29 years old. And I had close a couple of years out of law school, and the Internet was was booming. And I said, you know, what, I started, I gotta learn about this industry. And I had some friends in the industry. And I started going to these events, and I started seeing crowds of people around certain individuals. And I would say to my friends, I’m like, Who’s that guy? Why are they all talking to him? And they’re like, That guy’s a venture capitalist. I was like, Oh, I’d like to be one of those. So how do you become a venture capitalist, and I didn’t even know really, quite frankly, even know what venture capitals was. And, but I learned pretty quickly and, and one of the things that I also learned was that to get into venture capital business, there’s typically three ways to get in, if you’re lucky enough to have family that can give you a lot of money, there’s a second way to get involved with it, where you’ve, you’ve already sold a company made a lot of money, and you can then be in the business, or you go out and raise capital, like an entrepreneur. And, you know, I took that, you know, I had to take that third route. And I did, and I raised $20 million as a 29 year old and started investing in start up internet companies back in 1999. Wow. Well done. So So when did John join the firm and join the leadership team? And, you know, how did that come about? Yeah, so originally, my my original partner’s name was ion Berg, and unfortunately, I and passed away from cancer

almost eight years ago now, and I’m sorry to hear that and I was yeah, it was it was tough, you know, because he was an incredible friend and mentor in a guy who had actually, he had his own incredible entrepreneurial story he bought and sold his own company five different times.

So and his last time he sold it to Citibank

I can, he was sort of done with that. And then I recruited him to be my partner at, at, at the fund here. And so after he passed, a few years later, I had made an investment in a company through through my, my second fund that I was running at the time and, and John, John Powell wasn’t it was an individual investor in that company, we met each other, we liked each other. He’s a smart guy, he’s a nice guy, and man, he’s got this, you know, this huge, huge vision to want to do really, really big things. And he started telling me about his experience in the real estate industry, and his view on what’s next in retail, and his view on the fact that the, you know, stores are not just going to go away, and that, you know, people want to go out, and they want to be in the same rooms as other people. And he really helped us craft. One of the the thesis is that we have here at 70 cents capital around this idea of how the physical world and the digital world are converging. And we want to be involved in companies in the middle of all that. And that’s, you know, we see that you see that today with, like, with Amazon, you know, buying whole foods, you know, seeing that, you know, so many people are like, Well, yeah, I now have to scan my Amazon app, when I’m checking out at a whole foods like what’s going on here? I’m like, you know, but like, that’s, we all know, that’s what’s happening today. Yeah, absolutely. And then when did when did Ryan join the firm? And how did that come about? Well, that was an interesting story. I mean, like growing up, and in Philadelphia, as I said, as a Philly sports fan. And now we’re the city of champions here. We’ve got the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and it’s just, it’s just a great a great time. But, you know, growing up in Oh, eight, you know, and just being a huge fan here, you know, got to see the Phillies win the World Series and in in 2000, and then, and then I was 10 at the time, and then Ryan, you know, 2008, and that whole team with Jimmy Rollins, and che suddenly and Cole Hamels, I mean, just an incredible run they made. And so it’s just always a Ryan, Howard fan. And, you know, we were introduced to each other through mutual friends a couple of years ago. And Ryan expressed to me that he was interested in the venture capital business. And at the same time, you know, he started to start to he start to hear, you know, in the community, how athletes are starting to think about themselves as entrepreneurs, and starting to think about themselves as investors and they want to be investors, and they can be investors. And so Ryan said, when I when I sort of winding down my career, I want to be in the venture capital business. And Ryan and I spent a lot of time together with John and the rest of our team here at 76 Capitol with, with Chad and Jessica, and we all got to know each other, and we got to know each other’s families. And we got to know, you know, that we really liked each other. And we and most importantly, you know, the fact that we want to do things, we want to do big things together, both in the for profit world, as well as in the nonprofit world. And Ryan and his wife, Crystal are really passionate about eliminating illiteracy. In America, they’ve written six children’s books, all about, you know, trying to get first and second and third graders, get them to be able to read and learn and, and be good people. And it was exciting to have a guy who was smart and nice and had this big vision to become part of what we’re doing here at 76. Capital. And man, he’s had an incredible impact. And just this week, you know, here here at the beginning of September, he announced his official retirement, put out a story in the First Person account of his career

in the players Tribune, you know, thanking the fans of Philadelphia, and really talking about the fact that, you know, how hard he worked for what he was able to do on the field. And now, you know, the next chapter is to work hard with us here at 76, capital, and help and provide all of our contacts and relationships to entrepreneurs all across the world, who are want to build, you know, the next generation, incredible companies, and we’re excited to do that together with him. Pretty cool. He’s quite a figure in the sports world and beyond. But, you know, I do want to talk sports and sports Tech with you today. And before we get into some of the details there, can you you know, you’ve been investing since 99. So can you talk a bit just about how the sports tech landscape and sector has evolved since that time? Yeah, I mean, it certainly has I mean, it’s it’s been an you know, my passion as I as I said a few times, I mean, I’m a sports fan, right? So it’s, you know, sports and athletics and wanting to be an NBA player or a major league baseball player growing up, you know, it’s it was always my passion. It didn’t make it you know, like I ended up being a broadcaster, you know, in college at the University of Maryland. Oh, wow. Okay, but but I didn’t

I didn’t get to I didn’t get to make it on the field like Ryan did. And, you know, for, you know, just for years, I kept, you know, thinking someday, you know, the sports world and the tech world and the venture capital industry will all sort of come together. And, you know, interesting side note or story as well, you know, we’re also our venture capital fund has a strategic partnership with Rubicon talent, and Rubicon talent as a sports marketing firm that represents professional athletes, Olympic athletes, and sports broadcasters. So, these, the reason why we have this partnership is because these athletes today, as you know, as well as broadcasters, are also thinking about themselves as entrepreneurs and investors and want to be involved in the next next deal. You know, it’s almost, you know, more of a badge of honor of, you know, like, Zoom basically to say, like, what round did you get into in, in a company, you know, like, that’s the players talk about Yeah. And so, you know, I’ve been lucky to attend Andre Iguodala, his players tech summits, over the last two years in San Francisco with all sorts of top players, whether it’s Steph Curry, or Kevin Durant, or Joe Montana, and Andre Agassi, and really the top top, you know, athletes who are in the entrepreneurial world, and just sort of seeing what what’s happening in that world, and how there’s such an interest on both sides, no one’s heard of like pulling someone into a deal. And here’s a, you know, everyone wants wants to be involved. And it’s just a really exciting time to be involved in all of this. And we see, you know, this, the opportunities are truly endless. And, you know, you have owners today of professional sports teams, who are entrepreneurs, it’s not the old guard, it’s a lot of the new new owners now are really thinking about entrepreneurs thinking about how they innovate their product, for the fans, for their players. You see, guys like Kevin Durant, you know, going out to the Golden State Warriors, because they want to be in San Francisco.

You see, you know, there’s really interesting things that are happening in and around the world and, and having a partner like Ryan gives us incredible access into these into these rooms that, you know, a lot of people, you know, can’t get into.

Right, right. And, you know, we’ve we’ve seen a lot of players, current players, former players, musicians, actors, you know, getting involved on the investment side, some pretty savvy, some more green. You know, my partner, my syndicate partner was just at the Y Combinator Demo Day, and ran into Joe man, Montana and Jason Kidd out there. Which is pretty interesting. But you know, I’m curious, I think I probably know where you stand on this. But do you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing that, you know, so many people from the athletic world are getting involved in venture?

Well, I think it’s, I think there’s, there’s two sides to it. First of all, I think that, you know, one of the things that Ryan, you know, talks about a lot is, is that, you got to know what you, you know, and you got to partner with people that can help you. And, you know, Ryan didn’t start Ryan Howard capital. You know, he, he’s specifically when we met through, you know, our mutual friends, he was talking to a lot of different venture capital funds, right, he was busy, he wasn’t going to just go and start his own thing. Because, you know, he knows a lot about being a professional baseball player, not being a professional venture capitalist. So, you know, as he says, he’s learning every day we learn from him, he opens a lot of really amazing doors for us. He’s got incredible contacts. But we also, you know, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of the business, that’s what we that’s what he’s learning from us and with us. So he always says, like, Look, if you’re gonna get involved with this, you better do it with people that know what they’re doing. So I think that a number of the athletes today, some of them have built really good teams around them. Others are sort of going at it on their own. But I would highly recommend going with a group with people that know what they’re doing. And that’s one of the things that we’re doing here at 76. Capital, we’re going to be making some announcements over the next year or so we’re going to hear other athletes at you know, that are, were as as successful on the field or court, as Ryan has been that we’ll be joining our team. So we’re bringing on more and more players. And you know, it’s Ryan always says it’s about building our team. The better our team is, the more the more people that we have, who are smart, who are nice, who have great contacts or understand business, the better. And so we’re continuing to build our team bringing more and more of these athletes onto our platform. It’s one of the reasons why DeMarco Murray, who recently retired from the NFL, a year ago came and became an investor with us go to his LinkedIn page, you’ll see that

and he’s he gets involved with some of the businesses with us. And so, you know, we’re bringing on you know, athletes

Ross, all the different sports as investors with us, some of them as advisors, some of them potentially in the future as partners with us to really build out this because we believe that the same kind of traits that you need to be successful as an entrepreneur are the same traits that these professional athletes have, quite frankly mastered in the sports world. So you have to have that incredible passion desire drive, to go make it happen on the field, you have to be able to get up after you get knocked out, if you’re a football player, or you’re a baseball player that strikes out, you got to get up back up to bat and, you know, and try to go do it again. And that sort of, you know, being able to get up off the off the mat or get up off the floor is the kind of stuff that you need to be a successful entrepreneur. And entrepreneurs get told no, all the time entrepreneurs get told that they’re crazy, their ideas are way out there. Their moms, their dads, their sisters, their brothers, you know, are telling them, they’re they’re absolutely nuts, go get a job. They know, right? They know that they’re, they’ve got something incredibly, you know, innovative, and they’re gonna go make it happen. And there may be the only ones who actually see it. Maybe some of their team members, or maybe they’re in venture capital backers are the ones who are there with them. But like, it’s it’s hard. It’s it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a it’s a hard road. And that’s where, you know, Ryan talks to our entrepreneurs about that, you know, when he struggled in it was when he played and had games where he struck out three times. But then the next game, he gets up there and hits a homerun, he’s like, you know, I, I redeemed myself. But like, you have to be able to get up, you have to be able to deal with those types of ups and downs and, and certainly athletes have had to deal with that. Because it’s just like becoming the next amazing entrepreneur, which is one of the most impossible things to do. It’s, it’s equally as impossible to make it to the NBA to Major League Baseball to the NFL, I mean, we all want to be there. But

the stats are probably pretty similar. I think it’s actually it’s, it’s a pretty interesting parallel there, because I was a collegiate athlete, and, you know, the skill has to be there. But after the skill, you know, the the guys that were best, so I was a swimmer, the guys that were best in the pool, were the guys that were putting in the most work, learning from their mistakes. The guys that really had the metal or the grit to keep on keeping on and 99% of everyone else just kind of falls away. And you know, can’t hack it. It’s it’s a tough grind, being an athlete. And so as being a founder. Yeah, absolutely. And so that exactly mean that the analogy between being a founder and an athlete, it’s there, and, you know, but that’s also one of the things that is great to have, you know, Ryan and the DeMarco on our team and, and just my team’s experience in working with entrepreneurs, where, you know, there will be tough times and things will not completely go your way or, you know, all the time, you know, companies don’t go public in 24 months, and it’s a straight line to the top right. I mean, there’s tough times, there’s times when, like, I don’t even know if I’m gonna have enough money to pay my team. But that’s why, you know, we’re there. And I always say, when we invest in companies, we jump on their side of the table, you know, my rolodex is their Rolodex, you know, if they need to, they need a helping hand, they know to call us, you know, if they need just someone to kind of put their arm around them for a second say, man, it’s gonna be alright. You know, that’s why we’re there. That’s why, you know, we’re, we’re so much more than just the money we invest in our in our companies and to have, you know, team members and teammates that and understand that, and that are all part of that. And that we know that, you know, building a startup is a really hard thing.

We’re all about, you know, being there for them. Love it. Love it. Well, please express my gratitude to DeMarco, I think he won me a fantasy championship or to a couple of years ago.

He was definitely one of the elite running backs in the NFL. But so So back on sports tech, can you talk about maybe the lens or the framework that your firm applies to sort of segment out and look at the sports tech landscape? Absolutely. I mean, so, you know, so for us for the in the sports tech world today, there’s really two big areas that we’re looking at, number one, eSports and number two sports betting. So within the eSports world,

you know, we’ve really spent a lot of time, you know, really searching all over the country. And I was, I think, as you know, I wrote a book a couple years ago, and it’s all about entrepreneurship and networking and giving back and I was traveling the country, doing my book tour and talking to entrepreneurs and I’m, and I would kind of put a picture on the screen of a, of an a sold out arena. And I would say to people

What’s going on in this arena? People would look at it. I mean, and like, is it a concert? Is there a speaker or something going on there? Like, what is it? I’m like, No, that’s a,

an Esports competition. And a lot of people didn’t know what I was talking about a few years ago. Today, a little more, you know, a few more people now know what’s going on. But you know, that’s a world that we think is really interesting. And we were traveling the country really looking at to meet entrepreneurs who were doing the next thing and the next next thing in that space. And, you know, we passed up on, you know, investing in, because we’re startup guys investing in like a team. No, that wasn’t something really for us. But we what we ended up doing was investing in a company called nerd street gamers in the eSports space. And their CEO, John Fazio, is all about building the amateur side of eSports, the amateur infrastructure of the whole eSports space. And we’re really excited about what’s happening across that. And, you know, and that’s a world that we’re, we’re we’re very much interested in. And then when we switch over to sports betting, I mean, when Supreme Court overturned paspa, I mean, that was a big deal. I think it’s it’s in tonight, you know, as as we record, this is the first day of the first night of the NFL season. And there are five states in the United States that have other than Nevada have passed laws to allow people to bet legally on sports. So now we have a regulated world of sports betting. And we’ve we’re looking at, you know, four different areas within the sports. Within the sports betting space that we’ve made investments in, we’ve made investments in the data collection side of that world, the data analytics side of it, the broadcasting side of that we were investors in a company called VSAN, which with Brent Musburger, it’s a 24 hour channel on on Sirius XM, we also announced our first OTT deal with fubo. TV, we’re able to watch our shows, and it’s all about sports betting and, and the whole goal there is to become the CNBC of the sports betting industry. So from a media perspective, we really think there’s a big opportunity. And then at the same time, from a broadcasting perspective, you know, we look at, you know, who will be those analysts, and who will be those broadcasters the future that truly understand what’s going on, with the lines inside of these games, and the new games that are coming out the new entrepreneurs and the we believe that within the sports betting world, that there will be a Facebook and Amazon, a a

Google that will come you know, accompany like that will be the next next thing within this $250 billion plus market that is expected to be you know, surround the whole sports betting world. So we’re really excited about eSports as well is sports betting. Got it? You know, I’ve heard some, some sports tech, categorized into like athlete performance tech. And then as you just highlighted some of this broadcast audience enjoyment tech, as well as more of the in person experience tech, sort of those three categories. Do you guys invest across all three of those? And, you know, where are you seeing the most opportunities, the most interesting opportunities? The simple answer is yes. You know, and I think that there’s some really interesting though, when we kind of talk about the future of retail, because of the experience that our partner John Powell has in that world, and this fall on the West Coast, we’ll be launching a company in that sort of future retail world, which also will have its, you know, also certainly pertains to this sports tech world as well. So kind of what we’re what we’re doing and what we’re, we’re launching will kind of crossover into both of those worlds. So we really believe in this. This idea of again, that said he said the in person piece. So that’s really where the eSports pieces as well. Again, we you know, we have this, this thesis around the convergence of the physical and digital worlds and within what we do at Nerd street gamers, our local area, you know, our land centers that we have, right So, which we call local host are places for people to come and play. So it’s not only just for you to just to come in and walk in off the street and play with your friends, you know, but but also there, we have camps, we’ve had summer camps, we have boot camps. We have leagues we have competitions that go on and and it all sort of rolls up into one. We have these something called the East Coast championships all across the the east coast at this point right now DC, Philly and Chicago, where we have champions in

These different cities, and then those those champions all come together and play against each other in different games. Whether that’s could be Overwatch could be CSGO, it could be feet, no FIFA, Madden, etc, whatever the game is, we have champions across all those all those different games. So we really believe in this idea of the fact that you can do things in a in a physical location. That’s something that’s that, that crosses over into the

the arenas and the stadiums that are out there today. Yeah, the video games as a sport, you know, what we call eSports is certainly exploded in popularity. And you’ve highlighted that. What, you know, how have you seen that sort of evolve and grow over time? Where do you think eSports is going, you know, what is? What is eSports going to look like in three to five years, we certainly think it’s going to be a lot bigger than it is today. I mean, just just specifically, you know, with what we’re what we’re doing with nerd Street at this time. And again, it’s again, it’s all about the people and the partners, and we’re really fortunate to have a great CEO and John Fazio at Nerd Street. And then, you know, we were able to, after we invested in the company,

we were able to connect John with Comcast. And as you know, Comcast owns NBC, they also own the Philadelphia Flyers, they own a number of other entities all across the country and their and their regional sports networks. So we recently announced that Comcast invested alongside of us in in nerd street gamers. So as we continue to roll out across the country, in 2018, and our our plan is to be in even more cities in 2019.

We’ll be rolling out with a partner like Comcast and NBC Sports in all these different

areas across the country. So we look out three to five years, you know, we’ll have these amateur arenas for, you know, for young people to be able to play and compete in the eSports space all across the US. It’s, it’s amazing. I mean, look, we all know the stats, or we know the information, if there’s over 50 colleges, universities that are offering scholarships. So where are these kids playing? You know, before that, there’s high school leagues that are popping up? Where are they playing those games, we can be one of those places where they where they play,

you know, we believe that you have to have,

you know, then then you have the, you know, sort of what’s happening across the professional levels. And so how is this all going to play out over time, I think there’ll be more leagues like the Overwatch League. A few things are going to be announced later this year, I believe that will be similar to what’s what Overwatch is doing.

And, you know, the fact is, is again, with Comcast, we also have a tremendous partner in Tucker Roberts. Tucker is the CEO of the Philadelphia fusion and really leads the eSports efforts at Comcast. And they’re doing, you know, big and exciting things. So to work with them, as they continue to build what they’re doing. And are, you know, having nerd Street as being one of their, one of their investments alongside of us, allows us to be in a really good position as we continue to build out across that world and it’s just things are just gonna continue to get bigger and that space. We, you know, we just love it, because when you see the fan base, you see people who are so passionate about those games, the big four sports, you know, whether that’s hockey, basketball, football, and, and,

and baseball, I mean, they wish that their fans were as passionate as some of these sports fan. The arenas are nuts. It’s nuts. It’s absolutely not so like, as that as that continues, you know, to be alongside of, you know, big partners, you know, whether that’s, you know, you know, from a broadcasting side we also work very closely with Twitch and wow, you know, what a what a great deal Amazon did with with, you know, buying Twitch numbers. Yeah. Amazing. I think I saw a stat that one of the World Championships for I’m not sure which which game it was, but got more viewership than the Superbowl last year. Unfortunate for your Eagles, but

Well, it’s, there’s no doubt there’s no doubt that this is this is coming.

You know, look 50% of kids who who apply to college today, one of the ways if they have to use a word to describe themselves, they say they’re a gamer. So, I mean, you know, we have to we have to keep our eye on this and that’s why more and more than ever, I mean, look, you know, just like you know, the kind of entrepreneurs that we like to invest in that are you know, that are early and and that Take That giant leap. That’s how we are as investors you know, we we see something and and we think

like that we can, you know, do a lot more than just invest our money, we jump in, and we see what we can do and help these entrepreneurs be successful.

Yeah, you know, I, myself was a big gamer growing up, but you know, that was the days of mostly dial up, you know, dial up modems and trying to play, you know, games against friends. And it’s, it’s come a long way since then. But, you know, you’ve, you’ve talked to a couple times now about sort of the amateur sports market. And I know a number of sports tech investors that actually avoid the youth in the amateur and the collegiate markets, because they think all the money is in professional sports,

you know, missed opportunity, or is there something to that position, the way it stands today?

Well, I hope they all invest at the professional level and leave the rest of it.

I mean, like, look, there’s, there’s definitely some great plays, on the on the professional side and be but at the same time, you also have to really be careful where if you have a really great new, say, sensor, or some kind of software innovation, that you’re selling to one NFL team, and then the other, the rest of the team, you know, that one team may want an exclusive with you. And then you’re sort of shut out. So you got to be careful. You know, these teams are very secretive, because they need to be they need to, they’re very competitive. So something that the, you know, the Chicago Bears are doing, they’re not going to, you know, they don’t want to tell the New York Giants what they’re doing. Because they want to win the Superbowl. Sure. And so it’s, it’s tough. That’s, that’s a tough thing.

But look there, you know, when we don’t one of the reasons why we like the the youth market is because it is so many people, you’re you have it’s so much, you know, you have it’s the it’s the the wide end of the funnel. So it’s everyone who’s aspiring to want to be that next next. And in today’s world with

someone who has teenagers who’s had, we’ve been through that the youth sports ranks, and you see how much money parents will spend, to, to make their kid potentially get a college scholarship or be a professional, it’s unbelievable. And a lot of that, at least within the eSports world, specifically, a lot of that infrastructure. The, you know, the little leagues aren’t really even set up yet. The high school leagues are just being set up. There’s no real AAU circuit yet. Like, there’s so much to do. There’s so much to build. And we want to be the backers of the guys that that back that really truly build that infrastructure. Right. Right. You know, according to my research you, you’re a part owner of USFL. Team, the stars. I was I was curious to hear sort of what lessons you learned from that, you know, being on the ownership side of a professional sports team? Well, you know, it was it was actually my partner, John, and his family were part of we’re partners in that. And they won two championships in the USFL. And, you know, as the story goes, our our current president kind of screwed that up for a lot of those USFL. Guys. That’s right, Donald Trump was the what the president of the USFL at the time, or he was an owner of the New Jersey generals at the time, okay. There’s some really interesting stories and books and 30 for authorities and stuff that have been written about or have interesting stories around all that I could tell you that but, you know, John, and his, his family were very proud of being the owners of that one, two championships, had a great time. And some really, it’s amazing, some of the relationships and that have,

you know, extended, you know, have gone from the kind of the, from that till today. I mean, actually, what’s interesting is, is one of our CO investors with us, initially in nerd street gamers, was a family that

was a partner of Jon’s family in the in the USFL. Deal. So, it’s amazing how those kinds of things come around over time. Wow. Yeah. And you’ve talked to a number of times today about how you guys get involved with entrepreneurs and how you really, you know, Align yourselves with them and become a part of the team. Can you talk about some of the specific ways that that you guys get involved?

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think again, our whole business, right, I mean, once we invest in a company, we jump on their side of the table, we’re with them, we help them, you know, we’re there to counsel them. We’re there to give them our contacts.

We’re there to you know, give them ideas.

As on their, on their current funding, how they run their business.

And, you know, we also really help them with with their marketing and their communication side of their business.

We think about, you know, how we can open up doors for them on the business development side of things. And, that’s, that’s what we do. I mean, and we’re there, you know, if we don’t know, somebody, we, we feel like we’re, hopefully one degree away from someone that we can, you know, we can connect them with, to help them be successful. And, you know, specifically like, even with our company, VSAN, which is the, you know, the, the, the sports betting channel, which is on Sirius 204.

You know, we’ve helped them we have a studio in a casino, called the south point, Casino Resort in Las Vegas, and that’s where we broadcast most of our shows from, but we really wanted to have an East Coast studio. So we’ll be, you know, in the, in the near future, announcing another, another casino partner of ours, where we’ll have a studio inside of their sports book inside of their Casino. So we really helped put that together. Similar kind of thing, as I mentioned earlier, kind of we how we helped, you know, our Nerd Street guys or eSports company, to, you know, connect them with Comcast, and that’s become, you know, you know, they become a great investor with us. So, it’s all about just helping our companies and being there with him.

When you’ve, you’ve spoken a lot about the importance of networking. And, you know, as you mentioned, before he even wrote the book about it, what are some of the key lessons that you have for listeners regarding networking?

Well, you know, one of the things I always say about networking is, is number one thing is you got to get up and get off the couch.

You know, like, I think it’s great, you know, to sit back and do LinkedIn, and, you know, follow people on Twitter, and all that stuff. And that’s great. But there’s nothing better than being out there and meeting people. In person, I think that’s one of the really big things that eat that you really need to do as a as a, you know, as someone in business and life in general. And one of my one of my tips that I always give people is like, you got to have a business card. And you know, business cards, I think are an amazing way to allow you to sort of just break the ice. So I have this thing I say, you know, and I do pretty much what I do every day, I wake up in the morning, and I, I fill up my my right pocket with business cards, and my whole goal that day is to empty my right pocket and fill up my left pocket with, with new people’s cards and try to take those contacts, and turn them into relationships. And most importantly, once you develop a relationship with someone, try to help them. And you know, that’s, that’s what we’re all about here at 76 Capital is trying to help people and whether that’s in business, or in the nonprofit world, or just someone who’s having a bad day, if we can somehow, you know, make their make their lives better and help other people. That’s what it’s all about.

So, Wayne, if we could cover any topic here on the program? What topic do you think should be addressed? And who would you like to hear speak about it? That’s a good question.

You know, like, I just, I think that the one thing that as, as on any program on anything around venture capital, or entrepreneurship, it’s, it’s really about just the overall hustle and what and what it takes to be successful. And the more the more people that you you bring onto your show that talk about that. And that share their stories, their kind of, you know, that it’s, it’s just not a straight line to the top. And that there will be times there’ll be dark moments, there’ll be

there’ll be times when it’s like I don’t, I don’t know if this is going to work and then you just kind of get up and you just keep pushing forward and you go to that next meeting, and you make that next phone call and you mark it some more and you advertise some more and and then something works, and then it just kind of clicks. And so those kinds of stories of just just to just pure hustle and pure just trying to go make it happen every day. And really and following your gut and working so so hard working harder than anyone else. And you know, just kind of writing that last email when your eyes are closing, right? You’re just falling asleep, but you’re like, I gotta like hit that last.

I gotta one more one more like you know, and just that’s the kind of thing that that that makes you know that that allows not only just, you know, people in the venture capital and entrepreneurial worlds and but just overall business and even in sports. I mean, it’s that last rep you’re gonna do when you’re so tired, you just can’t can’t run anymore. I can’t lift anymore but you just can’t shoot anymore. It’s and you take

that last shot.

That’s what it’s all about. Get some great hustle stories recently from a VC in your neck of the woods. Actually, Paul Martino was on the program. Do you ever run into Paul in Philly? Paul’s the best, the best. The best, is he’s an absolute character. And friend and someone that I really respect. He’s really smart. He’s a nice guy. And, you know, we, we throw some parties together and we invest together and just I enjoy. Enjoy spending time with him. Well, I know he was enjoying that Eagles victory as much as you are. But just to wrap up here, Wayne, what’s what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you? Well, the best way to reach me is, I mean, I’m at Wayne Kimmel across all social networks. My email is Wayne at 76 capital.com 76 Capital, our website has lots of information about all the different things that were involved with. We’re really active on social media. So across all the different platforms, and let’s you know, let’s connect I mean, let’s, let’s, let’s connect, see how we can help each other. Let’s, you know, connect on LinkedIn on whatever I mean. It’s all about you know, trying to meet other you know, like minded people who want to help each other to try to make this world a better place.

Well, Wayne, it’s always a pleasure to connect, clearly, you’re, you’re one of the good ones in this industry. And big thanks to Ben wiener for linking us up some time ago. And thanks so much for spending the time today. This was really a pleasure. I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much. And, you know, have a great day and good luck with everything that you’re doing. And I’m really excited to see kind of all the great progress and things that you’ve been able to do appreciate that when.

All right, that’ll wrap up today’s interview. If you enjoyed the episode or a previous one, let the guests know about it. Share your thoughts on social or shoot him an email. Let them know what particularly resonated with you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that some of the smartest folks in venture are willing to take the time and share their insights with us. If you feel the same, a compliment goes a long way. Okay, that’s a wrap for today. Until next time, remember to over prepare, choose carefully and invest confidently thanks so much for listening