Marques Colston Learned the Business of Investing While Playing in the NFL

0
39
Break the routine with the 7daymeal plan

SportTechie’s Athletes Voice series features the views and opinions of the athletes who use and are powered by technology. SportTechie talked to pro football player-turned-investor Marques Colston about his transition from the field to the financial and entrepreneurship worlds, and his new project, BioStadium.

To be the first to hear each athlete’s insights, subscribe to the Athletes Voice newsletter. And visit the Athletes Voice page to read the whole series.

Marques Colston played college ball at Division I-AA Hofstra and was picked No. 252 by the New Orleans Saints in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL draft. (Just three players were selected after Colston, and four years after he graduated from Hofstra, the Pride canceled its football program.) He went on to play 10 seasons with the Saints, winning Super Bowl XLIV, and becoming New Orleans’ all-time receiving leader, with 711 receptions, 9,759 yards, and 72 touchdowns.

He was a founder and owner of his hometown Harrisburg Stampede indoor football team, and when that team was shuttered in 2014, he bought an ownership share in the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena Football League. In 2016, one year after his retirement from the NFL, Colston became a special advisor to an athlete tracking company called Sport Testing. He is also the founder of a business consultancy firm and a marketing agency, co-founded a venture investment education program at Columbia University, and is a partner at both a cannabis company, Timeless Herbal Care, and a smoothie restaurant, Main Squeeze Juice Co.

Advertisement

Colston serves on the Athlete Advisory Board of The OneTeam Collective, the NFLPA’s accelerator, alongside seven other current or former NFL players. He co-founded a venture firm called Delta Venture Partners eight months ago in Philadelphia to foster the growth of early stage companies, and is planning to launch a data analytics firm called BioStadium in the spring of 2019.

Turning Pro as an Investor

“I started angel investing back in 2012 through an angel investment network. It wasn’t necessarily focused on any particular industry. As an entry point, I was able to invest alongside some colleagues and it was a really good experience because it allowed me to step into investment opportunities and share the risk with other colleagues, and also use our influence because most of our network was athletes.”

“That kinda sparked a thought process in me: As a sole angel investor, is there a way to focus in on an industry I’m excited about? While I was still playing, I was trying to evaluate technologies in different ways to stay healthy and stay on the field. Is there a way to take this focus on sports and tech and performance and partner with companies, where I can bring something extra to the table? Whether it be branding, a different insight, advisory services. That was really my introduction into sports tech. It was more from an angel investor, advisory role. It just continued to build from there.”

Advisors and Advice

“My financial advisory team were two guys who were former NFL players themselves. It was easy for me to watch those guys and see what success in business looks like after sports. They were influential in helping me understand how angel investing fits into my overall financial portfolio. They were always supportive in me going out to continue to learn new skill sets as an entrepreneur and investor as I went along. They were really influential in getting me into the space and supporting me with the right resources once I got there.”

“I would say first and foremost, understand the asset class that you’re walking into. It’s a really high risk, high reward opportunity. Understand the portion of your portfolio that you should be devoting to this space. Once you understand the money that you have to deploy, educate yourself as much as possible and work in spaces where you can become the ‘strategic money’ as opposed to the ‘dumb money.’ You don’t wanna be just any money in a deal, you want to add additional value and be a value added investor if you have that opportunity.”

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
/* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block.
We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Get the latest sports tech news in your inbox.

The Future of Technology in Football

“It will be a huge part in how the games played. You’ve already seen it change how the game is officiated. The ability to quantify some of these numbers, some of these metrics that weren’t able to be quantified in prior years, will continue to drive change throughout the game. Simple technology like enhancing the replay experience, enhancing camera angles, will continue to affect the officiating and efficiency of the game.”

“I think you’re starting to see helmet companies take a different approach toward trying to prevent and mitigate head impacts. That will be a space that continues to evolve. Technology is going to enhance and affect every part of the game. We just have to always be aware of maintaining the integrity of the game as we integrate the technology into it.”

“I don’t think people realize how fast some of these [playing] decisions have to be made, how fast some of these angles and opportunities present themselves. Really the only way to practice and replicate some of this stuff is you actually need to do it. Tackling is a huge one. Whether it’s the robotic dummies, allowing us to get real-live repetitions is always helpful because you start to train yourself and get muscle memory.”

His Data and Analytics Startup, BioStadium

“We’re really focused on the amateur and youth markets. There’s a ton of solutions out there that target the collegiate, the elite and professional markets, and adding that sports science element to organizations. But there aren’t really a ton of companies aimed at the youth and amateur market. We want to build a data aggregator that allows you to track your performance and progression throughout sports. If we start in the youth and amateur ranks and follow athletes all the way through their progression, there’s already an established standard of elite and professional data out there. We want to use that as the baseline to track the trajectory of youth and amateur athletes all the way through their journey.”

“I can’t get into specifics quite yet, but what we want to is we want to aggregate the space. There are a ton of wearable companies, a ton of data companies that track what I call vertical-specific data. We want to add context to the data. Make it more actionable.”

(NFLPA)
The Evolution of Data Tracking

“When I was a prospect there wasn’t a ton of objective metrics out. The business at that point was ‘Did you pass the eye-test?’ Coming from a smaller school, the question was always ‘Is this person a good player or is this person a good player amongst lesser competition?’ The ability to have objective metrics helps level the playing field in the evaluation. Over the years there’s been a ton of players to slip through the cracks in the same way. Once they’re actually able to get on the playing field you see those seventh-round picks, those undrafted free agents, really do have the ability to play at a high level and you’ll see things even themselves out.”

“Now it’s how do you get into the more internal data. Whether it be biometric with heart rate, heart rate variability. I’ve seen hydration as a point of focus. How do you start to measure what’s going on internally with an athlete, I think that’s part of the next wave. To me it’s all context. I think we know externally how fast people run, how agile they are, the acceleration. To me those are the ‘what’ measurements. The internal metrics start to get into the ‘why’ and the ‘how.’”

The Question of Data Privacy

“As data becomes more personal, more intrusive, [the question of ownership] will be at the forefront. When you’re talking about [40 yard] times, height and weight, those types of external metrics, if they’re at the workplace, that’s a much easier conversation. NFL combine, games, practice metrics, that’s a different category to me.

“Once you start digging into biometric data, health records, data that’s produced internally, that’s where the conversation really starts to turn. Because you run into other issues, too. You run into security of the data, you run into privacy concerns, there’s just a whole slew of challenges that are waiting for that type of integration. Ownership of data is going to be one of the really interesting points that has to be worked out. Because that internal data is hard to think about as anything other than a medical record.”

The NFLPA reviewed this content before publication.

Read more: sporttechie.com

Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here