Malcolm Jenkins has teamed with fellow NFL players to launch a venture capital fund.
The three-time Pro Bowl safety and two-time Super Bowl champion launched Broad Street Ventures on Wednesday. The fund focuses on late stage and growth stage technology and consumer products. It has already invested in Airbnb, Epic Games, Turo, NoBull, Automattic and ZenWtr.
Jenkins, a strong advocate for racial equality, hopes his newest business introduces more Black men and women to the venture capital world.
Jenkins and co-founder Ralonda Johnson recruited additional NFL players and industry leaders to represent the fund. Among them are defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty of the New England Patriots, safety Rodney McLeod of the Philadelphia Eagles and free agent wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Jenkins played with McLeod and Matthews in Philadelphia. Also, television broadcaster Sharrie Williams is part of the fund.
”While less than 1% of American venture capital backed founders are Black, an even smaller percentage are women of color,” Jenkins told The Associated Press. ”We need to break down those barriers, and this is why I’m proud to have Ralonda at the helm of Broad Street Ventures and Sharrie coming on board as an investor. Black women are helping to rewrite the narrative and we are inviting more Black women to the table to create generational wealth for themselves and others. This is an important initiative to me, as my businesses are not only run by strong women but also supported by women.”
Jenkins, who plays for the New Orleans Saints, and the McCourty twins have known each other since they played football against each other in high school in New Jersey.
”Malcolm is a guy off the field that has just done a ton for a ton of people, whether it’s his social justice work, his business stuff, his hand is always in something, so when he came to Devin and myself with this opportunity, it’s something that you don’t take lightly because if he’s in it, it’s something that’s probably bound to succeed,” Jason McCourty said.
”I think one of the key things is us as athletes, especially in today’s world, the more we can broaden our horizons and step outside the box and create different avenues or just follow through on avenues that have already been created like something in venture capitalists as Black and brown athletes, I feel like we can do so much. And I think there are so many things that we don’t know they exist or we don’t think we can be a part of them, sometimes they hold us back. So I think this opportunity that Malcolm brought forward for myself and a few other guys to get involved with was just a no-brainer to try to see how much we can grow and see how much we can do off the field.”
Matthews, a second-round pick by the Eagles in 2014, began investing in real estate early in his NFL career. He wasn’t sure who to listen to regarding investing in the stock market until Jenkins presented him an opportunity to join his venture capital fund.
”When Malcolm brought this opportunity to me, it was a no-brainer,” Matthews said. ”We dove right in and it’s been a really cool process. Knowing Malcolm’s heart behind it, I was like: `Oh, I’m 100 percent in on this.”’
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