DraftKings Launches Start-Up Hub For Athletes To Invest In Tech

By Community | September 5, 2019

DraftKings is launching a new platform to accelerate the movement of sports professionals into high-tech ventures and serve as a bridge for start-ups looking to innovate in sports, media and entertainment.

Called DRIVE, the new project has secured investment from leading venture capital firms General Catalyst, Accomplice and Boston Seed.

DRIVE encompasses two complementary components, the DRIVE Venture Studio, that creates customized programs for early stage sports tech entrepreneurs providing strategic resources including access to leagues, teams, owners, athletes, business leaders and capital.

Additionally, the DRIVE Athlete Network which includes programs like the Venture Internship Program (VIP), Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) and DRIVE Masterclasses is designed to provide both active and former professional or Olympic athletes opportunities to explore careers as entrepreneurs and investors.

“Our goal is for DRIVE by DraftKings to play a leading role in the innovation revolution sweeping sports, media and entertainment,” said Janet Holian, DRIVE CEO. “We are ecstatic to catalyse the worlds of tech entrepreneurs and athletes by creating a dynamic environment that will define the future technologies of how we play, consume and experience sports.”

DRIVE is co-founded by sports tech veteran Janet Holian and venture capitalist Rashaun Williams.

Holian, who most recently served as DraftKings’ Chief Marketing Officer, brings more than 20 years start-up experience to the role will serve as CEO.

Williams, General Partner at Manhattan Venture Partners, a former Goldman Sachs & Deutsche Bank investment banker has counselled hundreds of professional athletes in financial literacy and tech investment strategies, will serve as DRIVE’s president.

“The DRIVE Athlete Network puts athletes at the centre of everything we do, providing them with rare, real-world opportunities to embed with leading VC firms and cutting-edge tech companies,” Williams said. “DRIVE fills a resource gap for current and former professional athletes, who despite their wealth and public fame, are often stuck on the outside looking in at the tech companies revolutionisng their own sports.”

The collaboration between DraftKings, several leading venture firms and athletes, executives and owners from throughout American professional sports provides DRIVE Athlete Network participants with rare opportunities to immerse themselves in the sports-tech and venture capital industries.

DRIVE’s Board of Advisors includes some of the sports world’s most successful team owners, front office executives and athletes including Arizona Cardinals’ All Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (in photo above), Langston Galloway of the Detroit Pistons and dozens of others.

“I believe it is important that professional athletes receive the training and opportunities to diversify their skill set and better understand the opportunities that exist for them as potential investors and business owners.” said Fitzgerald.

“DRIVE by DraftKings is the first comprehensive program designed to serve as a roadmap for athletes in this capacity. I’m honoured and excited to serve as a member of the Advisory Board and be able to participate in what will be a transformational experience for everyone involved.”



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