Keynote Hits a Homerun at the Philadelphia Business Summit
November 13, 2019
By Jim Jacaruso
EisnerAmper held a fireside chat at its Philadelphia Business Summit on November 7 at the University City Science Center. The chat was led by an EisnerAmper partner; the keynote was former Philadelphia Phillies superstar Ryan Howard. Although they discussed Ryan’s prolific baseball accomplishments, the major focus was how to transition from the sports world to the business world.
Howard was drafted out of Missouri State University by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2001 Major League Baseball June amateur draft, spending his entire career with the team. He was the 2005 National League Rookie of the Year, 2006 NL Most Valuable Player, a three-time all-star, and a member of the 2008 World Series championship team.
Notwithstanding his baseball acumen, Howard was equally proud of his transition to the business world. He is a partner at SeventySix Capital, a sports tech venture capital firm founded by Wayne Kimmel, which invests in consumer-facing tech companies in the sports, e-sports and sports betting industries.
Howard discussed the launch of the Athlete Venture Group, which allows professional athletes to invest, learn and work directly with the top sports tech startups and entrepreneurs. The fund gives athletes the opportunity to become tech investors and for entrepreneurs to tap into the financial and social capital that professional athletes have to offer: their personal brands. Howard also stressed that he tells athletes not to rush into speculative investing, advising them to first reach their savings goals to ensure the financial stability of their families.
This is an exciting avenue for athletes to gain entry to the business world and be counselled by business professionals who have a proven track record. Not only does SeventySix provide post-career business opportunities, it also has a strong commitment to “smart and nice”—their philosophy and standard for how and where they invest both their people and cash capital. They support good people with great ideas that contribute to business growth within the community and mentor the next generation of athletes looking to change the world by giving back. Those values are very important to Howard as he makes investment decisions.
In addition to investing strategy, Howard also shared his perspectives on the growth of e-sports, sports tech advancements, and the movement for equal pay in sports. The opportunities abound for savvy investors and entrepreneurs as the marketplace continues to grow and evolve.