Miami Heat’s Andre Iguodala is a three-time NBA champion having won titles with his former team the Golden State Warriors. He is a current member of the Miami Heat after being traded in the off-season to the Memphis Grizzlies who recently traded him to the Heat. He is also a successful businessman when not navigating a round, orange bouncing ball into a basket.
The successful entrepreneur and startup investor, funded more than 40 companies including Zoom, Datadog, PagerDuty, and Allbirds. As an investor and a member of the board of directors for Jumia Technologies, Iguodala helped the company grow and go public in April 2019 with a billion-dollar IPO. He also serves as a board adviser at enterprise software company Zuora.
He recently joined Comcast Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corp., as a venture partner. As a basketball player and entrepreneur, Iguodala tells Crunchbase that there are similarities in mindset between the two. “I just joined a new team, the Miami Heat, in basketball, and one here at Catalyst. With the Heat, I was hyper-focused my first couple of times on the court. While every team runs the same plays, each one has different terminologies for them. So I’ve been watching and learning on the fly, and having to figure out things fast.”
“It’s similar in the tech space. There’s different terminology and different acronyms for different industries and teams. Different companies have different vibes, some are more laid back and others are more buttoned-up. I have had to learn how to add value to different cultures within companies in the same way as I have with different teams.”
“There’s lots of egos on both sides. I thought it was just in the sports world, but I see it too in tech in other VCs, entrepreneurs or the best engineers. So I’ve had to learn how to deal with different personalities in both sports and investing. I’ve also learned to adapt and learn about different industries, from consumer to enterprise brands for example.”
He also explained how he ended up in this space: “About 8 or 9 years ago, I started seeing a large return in the tech sector in the public markets. From there, I got interested and wanted to dive deeper into learning how I could invest before companies hit the public markets. I started seeing the growth in the private space, and that eventually led to where I am now.”
As far as his most recent collaboration with Comcast Ventures?
“I’m really excited because what we’re doing with the Catalyst Fund and what we represent is investing in underrepresented communities, and determining how we can put them in our ecosystem and help them grow in a responsible and sustainable way.”
“Being a minority, you have to have a grander scope in terms of the people you deal with on a daily basis. Many of us have that back against the wall mentality, and a passion and grit.”
“Every morning I wake up with a chip on my shoulder and know I have to wake up with that passion and juice to go and prove myself. I’ve learned that I have to sacrifice, work hard and step up when it’s my turn. I’m ready to help other unconventional founders, and founders who are underrepresented in funding in the tech space, in their own journey.”