After eight years playing for his hometown Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant shocked the world when he signed a $51 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. But there’s more to that move than just a prospective NBA title – the aspiring business mogul wanted to be near the technology investment capital of the world.
The 6-foot-9 guard co-founded the investment company, Thirty-Five Ventures which “serves as the umbrella for all of their business interests across sports, tech, culture and more.”
Durant has been throwing cash in the streets of Silicon Valley in the past five years, as he invests in many of the Bay Area’s start-up companies. Here are his five most successful catches.
Postmates ($2.65 billion)
In June 2016, the Warriors forward invested in an on-demand delivery service named Postmates. Durant even spent a day as a delivery guy to advertise his new venture. Postmates claims to be able to deliver anything from anywhere in less than an hour.
— Nike NYC (@NikeNYC) June 26, 2016
Back in 2015, it took 116 weeks for the startup to reach 500,000 deliveries in the US but to reach the next 500, 000 — just 20. And now, after several endorsements from celebrities like Sophia Bush, Anna Kendrick, and Kylie Jenner, the start-up holds a big chunk of market share in LA. Last Monday, July 6, Uber bought Postmates, now the fourth-largest delivery service in the US for $2.65 billion in stock. For Durant, this is a $15 million pay-day.
Acorns ($860 million)
Everyone thinks that a top-caliber athlete would simply invest in sports, media, and the like. But here is Durant investing in a financial investment platform founded in 2012, named Acorns. The company’s focus is micro-investing: an investment method wherein individuals can regularly fund a diverse set of companies with their spare change from personal purchases.
Skydio ($220 million)
In 2017, Kevin Durant passively invested in Skydio, an autonomous drone start-up, powered by AI. Skydio’s two drones to date are equipped to “self-navigate”, meaning they can track moving objects as well as avoid potential collisions. Just recently, Forbes wrote about Skydio’s multimillion government contracts:
“In May, the DEA gave a $190,000 contract to Skydio, following a $16,000 order in August 2019. That same year, it also scored a $3 million contract with the U.S. Army and a $1.5 million deal with the Air Force..;”
According to PR Newswire, the global drones’ market was valued at around $3.45 billion two years ago and is expected to grow to $7.13 billion in 2022. With Skydio as one of the market’s rising stars, boasting a $220 million worth in market value, who knows how much of the global market share Skydio will have in the future. And who knows, how much of it will go to Durant’s pockets?
Lime is just three years old. And just last year, it was projected to have a market value of $2.4 billion. It is an on-demand electric scooter and bike startup with a focus on micro-mobility. Several of its rides are done to-and-from major public transportation platforms are are thus dubbed, “last-mile” travels. A lot of people resorted to using bikes and scooters as their main mode of transportation during the pandemic to practice social distancing. In any case, Lime, along with Durant’s investments, is projected to ride that new trend.
Lime’s value skyrocketed from the start. In its first 18 months, the start-up has raised $867.1 million. It’s already in over 100 U.S. cities and 27 international cities.
“Q Ball” on Netflix
Durant is also involved in film and television as he executively produced this Netflix documentary with Rich Kleiman. Q Ball follows the journey of the San Quentin Prison basketball squad. The story focuses on their struggle and their yearning for redemption.
No data yet as to how much this film earned but as it is heart-wrenching and awe-inspiring, the film was declared the Winner of the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival Documentary Grand Jury Award and was nominated for Outstanding Long Sports Documentary and Outstanding Musical Direction in the Sports Emmy Awards.
The #SportsEmmys nominees in LONG DOC are…
Any One of Us │ @HBO @RedBullFilms
Q Ball │ @FS1 @KDTrey5
Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story │ @ShoSports @MettaWorld37
The Dawn Wall │ @Netflix @redbull
What's My Name: Muhammad Ali Part I │ @HBO @kingjames @SpringHillEnt pic.twitter.com/XkxLoZEBvE
— Sports Emmys (@sportsemmys) March 26, 2020
Coinbase ($8 billion)
Acorns is not only the financial-technology company Durant set his eyes on. Last but not the least, Coinbase is an online digital-currency platform that uses Bitcoin for its transactions. Founded in 2012, they believe everyone should have the capability to securely and conveniently access cryptocurrency. On its website, the company claims to have over 35 million users worldwide and over $7B+ assets in custody. According to CNBC, it is the leading U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, at a valuation of $8 billion.
Durant boasts many other investments which include social media–driven startups like Caffeine, Hugging face, Overtime, and many more. While the two-time NBA Champion and Finals MVP and ten-time NBA All-Star signed a four-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, his numerous investments will surely stay in place.
Carl Caminetti of InsideHook writes:
“Thirty Five Ventures also manages Durant’s investments and has seen him invest more than $15 million into 40-plus startups to date. According to Durant, those investments have paid off at a rate of nearly 400 percent.”