- Launch Capital | Seed Stage Investing
- Twitter – @jaykapoorNYC | 4000 followers
- Medium Blog | LinkedIn | Personal Website | YouTube
- The Game Plan Show – Athletes and Business Ventures
Jay Kapoor is a man on a mission. A mission to bring the stories of athletes who are in moments of transition. This is the impetus of Jay’s new podcast called The Game Plan, where he invites athlete-investors and athlete-entrepreneurs to tell their story of what they are up to after the final whistle blows. I loved this idea, and I wanted to invite Jay on the VCHunting show to talk about his love for football and venture capital.
Jay grew up the son of immigrant parents from India and at the ripe age of 10 years old planted himself in the greatest state in America, New Jersey. It is here where he went to high school, got selected to be a press box announcer for his high school football team and enveloped himself into sports.
Even though football and sports are his passions, he found himself going through the financial-route as a profession as his undergraduate degree was in finance, spending time as a VC Investor at Madison Square Garden’s corporate venture and innovation team, where he focused on sourcing and investing in the innovative companies and visionary founders driving the future of live entertainment. Over his career, he has worked closely with sports, digital media, consumer technology, and commerce companies, including at Techstars’ NYC accelerator, where he helped over 25 early-stage teams in various operating and advisory capacities.
Where things changed was when there was a job opportunity at the NFL. I absolutely loved this story as it showed what Jay was really made of, perseverance and persistence:
“I found the email address of every HR person in the NFL and I sent them my resume every Monday morning at 9:30 am for seven straight weeks. The seventh week I got an email from an SVP telling me that everyone in the department has my resume, and they will call me back. Sure enough, a week later I had an interview and a month after that I had the job.”Jay Kapoor | VCHunting S3E3
I absolutely love stories like this as it shows that anyone can be what they want to be. Anyone can do what they want to do. It’s merely a matter of persistence and perseverance and hard work. If you want it, go after it! I cannot stress this enough to all of our readers out there. Jay Kapoor is a perfect example of a go-getter attitude backed by action. The world really is your playground and you can do, whatever your passion is. You just have to go out there and get it!
For the past couple of years, Jay has been working as a Principle of Launch Capital, which serves seed-stage companies. He helps with capital raises and helps founders grow their startups to their next goals.
“My work ethic is really my worldview. They can say yes, they can say no, but they can’t ignore me. If you carry this worldview, then the “no’s” don’t hurt as much and you won’t care so much about rejection because I put myself out there. If you don’t put yourself out there, they aren’t going to know anyway!”Jay Kapoor | VCHunting S3E3
So what does Jay love about sports other than watching a great football game?
“What I love about the sports industry is that it’s so much about community. Everyone in consumer startup is trying to figure out how to build a community, but a great thing that sports as a category has, is the passionate fans that coalesce around community organically. The companies that stand out really well are leveraging the fact that they already have a built-in fan community.”Jay Kapoor | VCHunting S3E3
I loved this part of our discussion. As a HUGE fan of community and the power of community, I know that a passionate fanbase can help any startup go from zero to hero. Why? Because of the feedback mechanisms that communities can provide to the founders. I never thought of sports fans as a community, and ideas floated around my head as Jay spoke. Sports startups really have an unfair advantage!
So how are (what I’m calling) “athlete-investors” changing the landscape today? In the past, and as Jay wrote in a blog post, the athletes-investors weren’t involved enough in the business of startups to really be present and engaged. Lending their fame and name wasn’t enough to succeed, and investing in a restaurant was just a bad idea. Today though, that has changed as more athlete-investors are really digging in, learning how to provide value, and understanding the startup and venture game. In my opinion, that’s exactly what it is. The athlete has to learn a new game, and those that learn it better will succeed.
“In the past, companies would solicit athletes for venture capital without realizing what they should expect from that investor will change if it’s an athlete from a traditional fund: How much capital they are investing, how involved they actually are, and what the founder can expect from this investor when they take their capital. As a venture capitalst we’re spending a lot of time advising founders, that is just not an expectation you can have from an athlete. Retired athlete, maybe a little bit. But a current athlete, no way!”Jay Kapoor | VCHunting S3E3
As the asset classes of investments have changed since the 90s, so have an athlete’s appetite for investing. Now that we’ve moved from the 1990s with athletes investing in restaurants, we’re seeing them open up their brands to tech startups. Where does Jay see the athlete-investor going in the next decade?
“What we’re going to see in the next decade are athletes going from just investors and partners, to be co-founders and founders of some really great companies. That’s great for me, for more guests on the podcast!”Jay Kapoor | VCHunting S3E3
Speaking of podcasts, Jay Kapoor’s new podcast The Game Plan has just launched, and as a listener, I really enjoyed his first episode with Jake “The Snake” Plummer. I won’t give it away, but listening to his story was great, what I loved was the Partner Meeting Review at the end with Jay and Tim. Talk about distribution opportunities! 🙂
So how did this partnership in a podcast begin between Jay Kapoor and Tim Katt? Back in Jay’s NFL days, he at Tim met at a conference. Tim has been around the sports world as well, and they kept in contact with each other over time, being intentional with their relationship, and help each other out. At the conference, Jay was speaking with Marques Colston and Marques was ruminating about the fact that when he speaks at conferences, all they do is ask him questions about his previous life as an NFL star with the Saints. At the time he’d been out of the game for over 5 years. Jay asked him where he can go to talk about the things he’s doing now and realized that he might be on to something. This is when the idea for the podcast emerged. The next time Jay met with Tim, he pitched him the idea of the podcast. Jay knew that he had an unfair advantage, as Arjun Chopra of Floodgate told him one time:
“The only thing we’re all looking for in this life is an unfair advantage. Go figure out what is your unfair advantage and everything else will take care of itself.”Arjun Chopra to Jay Kapoor | VCHunted S3E3
What is Jay’s unfair advantage? He’s spent 5 years outside of tech and venture in the sports world and has a Rolodex of people he can bring on the show! If you want the perspective of two early-stage investors talking to athletes about their business ventures, you’ll want to tune in!
“Tim and I are merely a conduit for their stories.”Jay Kapoor | VCHunting S3E3
It was my absolute pleasure hosting Jay Kapoor on this episode of VCHunting. Make sure you listen to the entire episode, it’s a grand narrative crafted by two dudes on video and podcast. You’ll enjoy this one!
Oh, and chicks dig the scars man.
Enjoy my retrospective!
Jay Kapoor Social Media
It’s a fine day for a hunt.