The idea that turned Carmelo Anthony into a venture capitalist came to him during practice with the New York Knicks last season.
basketball star became interested in the sophisticated sensors that
players had recently started wearing to track their performance, said
Stuart Goldfarb, a former executive at NBC and Bertelsmann who is a
friend of Anthony's. The devices, made by companies like Catapult Sports
of Australia, were not broadly available to consumers.
"We started talking about how sensor-based devices available to consumers were really primitive," Goldfarb said.
were bound to get much better and had the ability to disrupt the whole
health care system," he added. "But for them to work well and become
adopted, they really had to become lifestyle-type products. We wanted to
participate in that."
The result of that brainstorm was a venture
capital partnership between Anthony and Goldfarb that they unveiled
Monday. Their firm, called M7 Tech Partners, has a broader mandate than
just wearable technology, with plans to invest also in digital media and
other consumer technology companies.
Reflecting that scope, the
first investment by M7 - whose name is a nod to Anthony's nickname,
Melo, and his jersey number - is in a startup called Hullabalu that
makes storytelling apps for children. Goldfarb declined to say how much
M7 invested in Hullabalu, but he noted that Anthony was drawn to the
company because he has a young son.
The two partners each bring
different strengths to the new firm, Goldfarb said. While Goldfarb has
an operational and marketing background, Anthony could theoretically use
his celebrity to help promote a startup's product.
They are using
their own money to invest, though Goldfarb declined to say how much.
The capital, he said, comes equally from the two men. They spent the
summer looking at "dozens of companies," and they expect to announce
their next investment later this week, he said.
technology has become a hot topic in Silicon Valley recently, as
companies like Samsung and Pebble have released "smart" watches. In a
statement, Anthony emphasized his interest in the wearable technology
"We are actively looking for ventures with strong leaders
creating breakthrough products that resonate with consumers," Anthony
said. "I particularly have my eye on companies that are involved with
wearable technology and connected devices - these will be huge areas for
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