Connect with us

Business

Baron Davis and POINT 3 Want to Disrupt Basketball Apparel With Towel-Like Technology

With Baron Davis on board, POINT 3 hopes to grow its DRYV Moisture Control Technology, which is like a towel on your shorts or jersey.

Jeff Eisenband

Published

on

baron-davis-point-3-towel-technology

Photo credit: Baron Davis

Walking around Charlotte in 1999, the locals saw an unfamiliar sight: Baron Davis and former North Carolina State Senator Marshall Rauch.

“I remember being a 20-year-old rookie and him sitting me down and asking me, ‘What do you know about finances?’” Davis says. “I told him I didn’t know a lot, but I knew enough and he taught me a lot. People would see an 80-year-old Jewish man and a young black dude with a durag on his head, sitting, having breakfast or lunch in Charlotte at one of these uppity, uptown places. It was just like, ‘How do those two know each other?’”

Davis was drafted by the Hornets in 1999 after two years at UCLA. He’d grown up in Los Angeles, and Charlotte was his first excursion outside of Hollywood. Davis was introduced to Rauch by Michael Holton, a UCLA assistant and friend of Rauch. Holton played for the Hornets from 1988-1990.

Fast-forward to 2019. It’s Friday of NBA All-Star Weekend and Davis is back in Charlotte. This time, he is hanging with Michael Luscher and Mikko Simon, CEO and COO, respectively, of Atlanta-based POINT 3 Basketball.

READ MORE: Overtime Brings Billboard and Investment News to NBA All-Star Weekend

Davis has recently committed an investment with POINT 3, finalized at the end of Q3 in 2018. He will also serve as creative director. Founded by Luscher in 2010, POINT 3 specializes in basketball attire and is best known for its DRYV Moisture Control Technology. DRYV is a towel-like material that can be incorporated into performance apparel such as basketball jerseys and shorts.

“I’d be in this hot gym in the summer of ‘09 in Atlanta and I would sweat so much, dripping down my arms and saturating my hands with moisture,” Luscher says of POINT 3’s origin. “I’d have trouble controlling the ball, so I would steal my wife’s kitchen towel and hang it over my waistband, like a quarterback does, so I could dry my hands off without leaving the court.”

Luscher also has a valuable asset to this material he can bring to investors. In 2014, POINT 3 was given a patent for its “moisture control garment.”

“I think the protectable IP was a big part of it,” Luscher says on Davis’ decision to partner with the brand. Luscher and Davis did not disclose the amount, but Luscher calls it “significant.”

Investing with Baron Davis is about more than him writing a check. When Davis got to Charlotte, he was not wired like most 20-year-old rookies. He interned at a law firm while in college, and in his first few years in the NBA, he would spend summers working for his agent. Just a few seasons into his career, Davis started his own sports agency, negotiating marketing deals and investing in brands.

Davis’ mentor, Rauch, was also once displaced in North Carolina. Rauch was born and raised in New York City before going to Duke in 1940 to play basketball. He never left, serving in the state senate from 1967-1990. Outside of politics, the World War II veteran was a successful businessman running Rauch Industries Inc., a national Christmas ornament manufacturer from 1954-1998. Rauch is considered to have been the “largest Christmas ornament maker in the world” at one point.

“He was an entrepreneur, he was self-made and he just showed me how to take care of myself, how to take care of my family and the future,” Davis explains. “He taught me what money means, what possessions mean, what things mean in life. It’s really about the opportunities that I get from taking advantage of them and about building a community of people that you can be in business with and where you have great relationships with.”

POINT 3 is far from Davis’ first investment and it will be far from his last. But it is a rare Davis investment into the basketball industry.

Davis has been in hundreds, if not thousands of pitches. At this point, he knows roughly what he is looking for.

“What are they doing? What is their mission? What does the brand look like?” Davis says about analyzing a company. “It’s the law of attraction. After that, it’s about, what do the operations look like? What is the vision of the entrepreneur? Where does this sell? What does the trajectory look like? And then for me, once I start to see that, I start to see where I could help and assist. Me, being a creative person and a visionary, are our visions aligned? Or, maybe they have the vision and I can jump in and support and accelerate it.”

Like any good relationship, potential investors with Davis need to play the long game. It was a process getting pen to paper between POINT 3 and Davis. Luscher and Davis were originally introduced by Josh Gotthelf, co-founder of Dime Magazine and former general manager of Baron Davis Enterprises. Gotthelf, an advisor and investor to POINT 3, connected Luscher and Davis. After all, Davis was constantly coming in to Atlanta for his work with Turner Sports, and he could use a friend.

Davis and Luscher would meet for meals or drinks. As they bounced ideas off each other, the meetings became more frequent.

“He found something that we could connect to,” Davis says. “Not just through basketball, it was more so fashion. I think over lunch, another lunch, we just kept building and talking about all forms of fashion, athleisure, sports performance, things like that. It took us a while to get to the deal, but when we looked up, we had built a friendship. And so it made the deal easy to get done because we were both wanting to make it happen. Sometimes things happen like that through building a relationship and having commonalities and likenesses.

“And then I thought, here’s a basketball brand that can be disruptive. They’re not trying to compete with the big boys, but there’s an understanding of where they are and understanding the community and the audience that they can serve.”

Disruption is a big word. And it means big-time. Shaking up an industry dominated by Nike, Adidas and Under Armour would send shockwaves through the basketball world.

“I think first and foremost was Baron’s desire to not accept the current paradigm and try and disrupt the industry,” Luscher says.

“His creative vision, his contacts, his ideas. That’s when the more we met and started talking about it, I was like, ‘This guy can really be a difference maker to our business.’”

According to Luscher, Davis’ partnership helped “leverage our reach in the team space to supercharge our direct-to-consumer growth strategy” in Q4 of last year. He says the brand saw a 300-percent year-over-year growth in direct-to-consumer online business during that time.

READ MORE: Bojangles’ Channels Its Inner LeBron James for NBA All-Star Weekend

Davis plans to work with POINT 3 to connect with AAU coaches and friends from the NBA world to help grow the brand, while also incorporating current brands he partners with. Under the Baron Davis Enterprises umbrella are four companies he founded: Sports and Lifestyle in Culture, The Black Santa Company, BIG and No Label. Davis was also recently announced as part of Overtime’s $23 million Series B round of funding.

“It’s been maybe decades since anybody made a meaningful innovation to basketball apparel,” Gotthelf says. “And this sweat-drying technology, being able to dry your hands on your basketball shorts, is the first true game-changer in the basketball apparel space in maybe 20 years. And the fact that it’s a protected patent, I know is a big part of what brings value to that investment.”

For Marshall Rauch, it was about ornaments. For Michael Luscher, it’s about towel material.

But above all for Baron Davis, it’s about connections. On Sunday before the All-Star Game, he hosted his “BIG Brunch & Convo” event. Luscher and Rauch (who is 96) were both in the room.

Maybe they can brainstorm a crossover ornament-DRYV idea.

Jeff Eisenband is a broadcaster and writer based in New York City. He previously served as senior editor of ThePostGame and has contributed to the NBA 2K League, NBA Twitch channel, DraftKings, Tennis Hall of Fame, Golfweek, Big Ten Network, Cheddar and Heads Up Daily. A graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Jeff truly believes Northwestern will win national championships in football and basketball.

Business

Uninterrupted Sees Opportunity in Acquisition of ‘More Than An Athlete’

Uninterrupted acquired “More Than An Athlete,” as the two brands’ visions and missions were aligned in helping empower athletes off the field.

Avatar

Published

on

uninterrupted-deandra-alex

Uninterrupted is furthering its athlete empowerment platform with the acquisition of “More Than An Athlete.”

With this acquisition, the “More Than An Athlete” platform and activewear line will be integrated into the Uninterrupted brand, Uninterrupted President Devin Johnson said. “More Than An Athlete” founder DeAndra Alex will also join the Uninterrupted team as a marketing and brand strategist.

“When we learned about DeAndra and the grassroots platform they had built, we recognized an immediate alignment from a mission perspective,” Johnson said. “We reached out to learn more about the company, and as the conversations evolved, we both decided that our impact would be greater by joining forces.”

Alex started the company in 2012 and has since built a platform of marketing initiatives, community-action programs and an apparel line to help athletes change the perception of what it means to be an athlete. The community Alex built is made up of professional and student-athletes.

READ MORE: How Uninterrupted Brand Partnerships Help Showcase Athlete Stories

“Uninterrupted has defined and embodied what it means to be ‘More Than An Athlete’ and through their content, have empowered athletes to start important conversations on a host of issues,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier to be joining the team and look forward to continuing this important work.”

The joint passion of elevating athlete voices was the major draw, but Johnson said he is especially excited about the student-athlete contributions to the Uninterrupted brand the acquisition can provide.

“We were really interested in the ways in which they were working with and reaching student-athletes, especially younger student-athletes who don’t always get the media attention they deserve, but have equally important stories to tell,” he said. “At every level of sport, there is more to the athlete than the game.”

Johnson expects the two brands to be joined seamlessly as it grows beyond a media and content company. The addition will help extend Uninterrupted into areas beyond the digital content the company has founded itself on, into areas like merchandise and events. The “More Than An Athlete” portfolio includes a range of shirts and negative ion energy bracelets.

While the acquisition will help Uninterrupted expand its offerings, the “More Than An Athlete” platform will be introduced into a massive athlete network and a large media distribution.

“We are also looking forward to working with DeAndra to give an even bigger platform to the work she started in 2012,” Johnson said. “DeAndra will be a great asset to our team, especially from a marketing and branding perspective. She understands and is wholly committed to the mission, and as a savvy entrepreneur, her perspective and experiences will be invaluable to our team, network and audience.”

READ MORE: Former NFL Player Andrew Hawkins Is Building a New Career Playbook

Johnson said the deal should only make both brands stronger, but more importantly, have a greater impact in the company’s mission to empower athletes beyond the field.

“We’re excited about the future of Uninterrupted as an athlete empowerment brand that goes beyond media and content,” Johnson said. “We look forward to developing the limitless potential of ‘More Than An Athlete’ brand, exploring new content and new products, pulling from what we have both done as individual companies and also creating new content, franchises and products together.”

Continue Reading

Business

Premier Lacrosse League’s Newest Investment Opens Up Exciting Possibilities

Alibaba co-founder and Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai leads the latest lacrosse league investment as the PLL prepares for its inaugural season.

Avatar

Published

on

pll-series-a

Photo credit: PLL

The Premier Lacrosse League is preparing to launch in June, riding on a recent round of investments. 

The PLL’s Series A round of investment includes Alibaba Group co-founder and Brooklyn Nets investor Joe Tsai. The league was founded by brothers Paul and Michael Rabil, who are betting their experience in sports and business — and a demand for sports content — will help the league succeed.

Still, launching a new sports league isn’t easy, said Michael Rabil, the acting CEO of the PLL.

“This is the first time I’ve done it, but any new business isn’t easy to launch,” Rabil said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a gym in Franklin, New Hampshire or a nationwide lacrosse league. There’s so many small nuances and details. A sports league is the heaviest lift I’ve ever done, but we’re pleased how we’ve been received.”

READ MORE: Why the PLL and Women’s Professional Lacrosse League Joined Forces

Ahead of its launch slated for June 1, the PLL is seeing the details coming together quickly. The six-team league will be a traveling league, touring through 12 major markets. The cities and teams are to be announced in the coming weeks, Rabil said. The league has announced its inaugural weekend site in Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. New York’s Red Bull Arena was announced as the second weekend’s tour stop and as a playoff site in September.  

“The announcement calendars are chock full,” he said. In addition, the league will reveal team logos on Tuesday.

The initial round of investors was led by the Raine Group and included the Chernin Group, Blum Capital and CAA. Amount raised was not disclosed by the league. The first round allowed the Rabils to set up a three-point plan to reach the second round of funding.

The first objective was hiring a great executive team, while the second goal was to attract the best players in the world — the league announced 140 players signed in October. The last piece was a major media deal.

“If we could do those three things, we had a compelling business plan,” Rabil said. “It was important to implement a certain set of milestones to warrant a large capital raise and it’s important to hit those to justify the capital raised.”

The PLL signed a multi-year deal with NBC Sports Group, with three games broadcast on NBC and 19 games set to air on NBCSN and full-season package available on the subscription streaming service NBC Sports Gold. Several dry runs of broadcasts will be held before the launch. 

“You only have one chance,” Rabil said.

The league will act as a competitor to a current professional lacrosse league, Major League Lacrosse. The Rabils hope the league’s media deals can help make the sport continue a trend toward the mainstream.

Content is at the heart of the PLL’s strategy to win fans, and Rabil said there’s been continuous planning for high-quality content creation, including original programming, to tell the sport’s stories. Rabil said he and his brother hope to showcase a lower barrier of entry for the sport, which is often painted as an elite East Coast hobby.

“At the end of the day, we’re entertaining people,” he said. “We want to entertain with a high level of competition, but also with the stories behind the players and how unique they are.”

READ MORE: How the PGA Tour Helped Pro Golfers Improve Their Social Presence

The new influx of capital also will help the PLL leadership to make a few more key executive hires and continue to build and execute the game day experience, which will be key to the league’s success, Rabil said.

“Not only do fans expect a highly competitive game, but an atmosphere that is interactive with national sponsors,” he said.

Rabil said he’s enjoyed watching the first few weeks of the Alliance of American Football, which launched its inaugural season earlier this month. He’s impressed in the distribution and the diverse audience reach the league has achieved early in its existence.

“The AAF has done a great job of telling their story around football,” Rabil said. “It’s been great; I’ve learned a lot about a new industry. I don’t consider myself an expert in this space — just in building a business.

“I’ve applied a lot of what I’ve learned and hopefully it pays off.”

Continue Reading

Business

3 Key Startup Lessons From Up-and-Coming Sports Entrepreneurs

Let’s take a look at some advice from three up-and-coming sports startup founders on their journeys to create opportunity.

Jarrod Barnes

Published

on

3-startup-lessons-sports-entrepreneurs

Photo credit: Pixabay

With the sports industry’s market size growing to just over $73 billion in 2019, there is no lack of opportunity to create and innovate within the business of sports.

The question is, where does one start?

A quick Google search of “how to start a business” will yield approximately 11.6 million results. The traditional path of attending a top business school seems to be the road less traveled for many entrepreneurs today. Current and former professional athletes like Kobe Bryant and Alex Morgan have continued to turn heads by launching businesses and building venture capital portfolios, almost making the process look easy.

Let’s take a look at some advice from three up-and-coming sports startup founders on creating opportunity and reaching success as a business owner.

Embrace Failure

“Entrepreneurship is dealing with failure; it’s one thing for you to create an idea that you like, but it doesn’t always stick with people,” states Chad Kayner, co-founder of 4est Ventures, an organization that transforms athletes into entrepreneurs and connects startups to potential investors. “It’s important to check your ego at the door — and understand that the stakes are much higher with your failures. You don’t truly learn until you go through it.”

Failure is, in fact, a harsh reality when it comes to launching a business, with the Small Business Association stating that 50 percent of businesses fail during the first five years.

READ MORE: Informational Interviews Can Be Crucial to Your Career Development

“Creating and selling things are fantastic, but you have to have the business model figured out in order to become sustainable,” said Kayner.

One of the top reasons small businesses fail is due to cash-flow problems.

“It’s survival; you have to use everything in your toolkit. If you haven’t been placed in that place before, entrepreneurship will bring it out.”

As Blake Masters and Peter Thiel say in the book “Zero To One”: “All failed companies are the same; they failed to escape competition.”

Starting from ground zero can be a huge challenge. Yet, it was failure that has helped Kayner build a community of mentors and a high-functioning organization. While it may seem like the odds are against entrepreneurs, it’s the ability to adapt, both yourself and the business, that can open the additional opportunity.

Be Prepared To Adapt

When launching a business, there isn’t always a direct next step or path to take. Rae Emard, founder of Athent, a mobile app that helps athletes and creatives easily understand and manage their finances, investments, and personal brands, shared how, “we grow up and go through our education system and come find out in business there are a million different ways to find what you’re looking for and get to where you want to be.”

Dominique Easley, a defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, is also an investor in Athent and claims that he’s fallen in love with the process of entrepreneurship. Providing a solution to the needs of financial literacy and brand development that professional athletes face has given these entrepreneurs purpose.

But it wasn’t always that way.

“For me to enter that realm was difficult. It was too awkward for me, but then I started seeing how the app was evolving and started to understand the details and gain confidence,” stated Easley.

Emard and Easley both had to adapt, even if that meant moving across the country to find greater opportunity and be surrounded by the right people. “I came to Los Angeles and literally went from crowdfunding to a functional app,” stated Emard.

In the process of adaptation also comes growth. Both Emard and Easley have helped position Athent to receive the endorsement of prominent current and former NFL players.

Embracing failure while learning to adapt is one thing, but lasting success is built through remaining patient.

Remain Patient

The late William Feather, author of “The Business of Life” stated that “unnecessary hustle is one of the American follies. We hustle at both work and play, and consequently enjoy neither.”

Hard work is not to be overlooked or ignored, but it is focused energy over time that has the power to produce lasting results.

READ MORE: How to Master the First Month of a New Job in Sports Business

“It’s patience, and understanding the balance between executing and always knocking on doors. We need time to make really good decisions, and trusting your gut feelings comes from experience and patience,” shared Kayner.

Jumping to a quick conclusion may feel like it can give you an edge, but it can cause you to create an artificial timeline. When an idea fails to align with that timeline, the mind can run wild.

“Control what you can control; solve what you see is the problem,” stated Easley.

Ideas are powerful, and the sports-business landscape is wide open for those willing to bring an idea to life. Enthusiasm, passion, and grit are all key characteristics of startup founders, but in order to sustain a business, be prepared to embrace failure, adapt, and remain patient in your pursuit.

Continue Reading

Trending