Morgan Stanley
  • Access & Opportunity Podcast
  • Feb 18, 2021

Andre Iguodala: Pivoting Your Playbook

Hosted by Carla Harris

Transcript

Andre Iguodala: Then you start seeing, you know, your track record start to speak for itself. These top VC firms have been doing it for the longest, you know. It's been closed off to us but now you're starting to figure out your purpose. And my purpose is to kick down that door and bring my people with me and get in on this action that we haven’t had access to ever.

Carla Harris: On this episode of Access and Opportunity, we welcome investor Andre Iguodala, venture partner at the Catalyst Fund. Most famously known as a three-time NBA champion, Andre has skillfully leveraged his success in the league to build a prominent career investing in the technology sector. His work with the Catalyst Fund focuses on supporting startups with founders from diverse, underfunded backgrounds. In this episode, Andre takes us back to how he got his start investing, the importance of surrounding yourself with smart experienced people, and how his work with the Catalyst Fund is helping African American, Hispanic and women entrepreneurs secure funding. Come on and join me for the ride.

Carla Harris: Andre, thank you so much for being here with me today. It's a pleasure to have you on the show. So are you ready? Can we jump in?

Andre Iguodala: Yes, ma'am. I appreciate you having me too.

Carla Harris: Alrighty, thank you. I would assume that most people listening to this know you from your time in the NBA. You are a three-time NBA champion, a finals MVP and a former All-Star. But equally as impressive is what you have done off the court. Just this year you joined the Catalyst Fund as a venture partner. So tell our listeners about the Catalyst Fund.

Andre Iguodala: So the Catalyst Fund falls into the Comcast Ventures, and it's a fund that focuses on underfunded founders, you talk about underfunded, statistically, African American, Latinx and women founders have been funded at a very much smaller number than your traditional companies are funded. And what we've seen is that, I’ll speak about African Americans having a stronger spending dollar and then women having a very strong spending dollar. But none of the companies have the entrepreneurs or founders that look like the consumer that they're going after. And throughout recent time, with a lot of these social injustices that have been occurring since the beginning of the country, since its inception, you know, has been coming to light with the new technologies out there, obviously with having a camera in your palm, we're all seeing these things. So, you're see seeing a lot of these VC firms, you see a lot of companies that people want to know who they align themselves with in terms of are you supporting, you know, the communities that are suffering from these social injustices? So, you’re seeing a lot of VC firms forming these funds that are focusing on these black and brown and women founders haven't been appropriately funded historically. But with Catalyst Fund, it’s been around since 2011, so it's been something that has been on its mind before all the hoopla has been about, OK, is this a marketing ploy to get people to say, “Hey, we're standing behind you.” You know with Catalyst fund, it’s been something that's been around for a while and they had a good portfolio of companies already invested in wanting to help companies not just financially, but grow responsibly, grow efficiently, and scaling that the right way.

Carla Harris: So you decided, as opposed to starting your own fund, you thought that the network that you have and the platform that you have, attaching yourself to an entity like the Catalyst Fund and Comcast that had been in the game for a while might be a way to kind of accelerate the impact that you could make as an investor. Is that fair?

Andre Iguodala: For this particular time within my career, I think this was a great place for me to align myself, my values and what I'm trying to accomplish in the tech space and trying to have a great effect on the companies that we invest in and that we partner with. It’s not just providing financial support and the financial resources to companies, it's also the expertise, our network and in helping these companies grow responsibly, helping them scale in a responsible manner, in an efficient manner. So, all of those things and those values align with things that I'm trying to do currently within my career and in my journey in the tech space.

Carla Harris: That's outstanding. And frankly, we are kindred spirits because that's exactly what we have done with the Multicultural Innovation Lab, because we figured out very early on that it was more than the money. So as we like to say, we give them cash, we give them content and we give them connections to help accelerate the scaling of the business. So let's take it all the way back. You've been an athlete all of your life. So when did you get this interest in investing and how did you think about that along the way?

Andre Iguodala: Well, I'll try to give it the shortest version possible, but it's been a great journey. Becoming a professional athlete, you get all this burden thrown at you at just one swooping time. As soon as your names announced and soon you signed a contract and then the world knows your salary. You know, you get all these things thrust upon you. And this is at a young age. You're nineteen, twenty years old and you're trying to figure out all these things in life. And obviously, you know, the education system of our public schools are very underfunded. And what occurs is we don't have that financial education that we all truly need to be successful and to handle the wealth that is thrust upon us that fast, you know. Although its a small a number of us, none of us have ever balanced checkbook. A lot of guys have never filed taxes. A lot of guys it’s the first actual job they've ever had. So there’s a lot that goes into that. And you go through these different programs and they try to give you life lessons and teach you ten-fifteen years’ worth of game in four days. And it goes into how do you scope out someone is trying to get over on you. You know, how do you scope out the understanding of you filing taxes in every state that you play in. How you're trying to scope out what budgeting means? How are you trying to figure out, you know, what's realistic in terms of living within your means and understanding compound interest and all those things that come about, the percentage of athletes to go through divorces, the percentage of athletes to file for bankruptcy, within two or three years of their careers ending, and what's the real average years of an athlete's lifespan. That's like three or four years. People really don't understand that. And then that triggered a light bulb in my head and told me to figure out a lot of these things that they're seeing are the major issues for professional athletes and finances were a bigger part of that. So, I just tried to align myself with people who were smarter than me, who had expertise who will hold me accountable for learning on my own, going out and getting the knowledge myself, and then having a passion to go get the knowledge for myself and led me to an E-Trade account. Take a small piece of your savings and you just start dipping into having different stocks. And, you know, it's your money. You don't want to lose it. So, you're trying to understand why stocks go up, why they go down, market cap, stress the weaknesses of the company, opportunities for the company to scale and threats of competitors and what other competitors are doing as well. And this just leads you into this whole new world. And then once you're you know, you really care about your wealth, you realize that it’s not a job. It's just something that you learn to enjoy and you learn how people grow their wealth. You see other people who have more money than you. I know one of my favorite books was Snowball Effect on Warren Buffett. And pretty much he was just a basketball player, but it was collecting coins. You know, he just started collecting coins early instead of dribbling the basketball. And the same expertise I got on the basketball court, he was getting in the money world. And once I understood that, I'm like, hey, we can we can all do this. You know, it's just about having the right perspective, the right understanding, the patience. You know, so there's a lot of things that I learned throughout that. But the E-Trade account really helped me get into the tech space because I saw myself starting to invest in a lot of tech companies. And the iPhone came out around that time and I was a big Apple fan. So, I was following Apple very closely and from there, it's just like I was just thrust into a new world.

Carla Harris: Wow. Well, I got to tell you, Andre, you just gave us an amazing playbook. So now let's fast forward. It’s 2011. There's a lockout in the NBA and you use the time instead of continuing to kind of work on the craft that had the W-2 associated with it, you actually went to an internship at one of our competitors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, to just do a week long internship. Tell us about that and why that might have been important for you.

Andre Iguodala: Yeah, that was a great experience. And around that time, I just signed a large contract with Philadelphia 76ers. I had a really good, I call it a good scare, where like you signed a nice contract coming in, and then you sign your big contract and it’s like, now that’s really a different world. You have access to a lot of things. And I was glad I went through that phase really fast where I experienced the high life or whatever they call it. And I got a quick understanding that it really, it was just material things. And I realized that it wasn't really for me. And it was like, there's something more powerful out there in terms of what you can really do financially if you if you put your right efforts into it. So I had gotten with a good money manager and we put a playbook together in terms of how quickly we can save a certain amount of money. And the playbook my money manager had was it was safer at the time, which was good for me because it was all about just saving-- we call it stacking-- just stacking as much as possible and just cutting out a lot of things that you don't need. So you learn about assets and liabilities. So, the lockout happens, and I say, let's make some-- let's make something of this time that you're off. Let's not just sit around and I get my work done in the gym and then you have all this time on your hands as an athlete, you have a lot of free time. That's what people don't understand. A lot of athletes struggle with that free time. So, it was brought up, hey, how about you come in and learn about what I do? And that's something I always wanted to do. And then look at some other areas in the different financial space, whether it be a day trader, I went to see a day trader, which was a lot of fun. Got to see how business worked for him and how he was moving different stocks for different clients. And on the same trip, on the same internship, I was with a venture capitalist and I was in New York. So it was interesting, venture capitalists from New York and Silicon Valley, but they weren't as known in New York at that time. Now they're all over because, you know, you can you can work remotely. But he took me to Tesla, which was very, very interesting. Yes, it was one of the very first showrooms and actually got in their first roadster. I could barely fit in it. But, you know, it just opened my eyes to a new world because at the time I still didn't quite understand. But it kind of just got the interest kind of starting to work in the brain in terms of this is a company that doesn’t take gas. It works off, you plug it in a battery and it's like, this isn't going to work. But that was good for me to see to see where the company is now. And I actually have a Tesla and I'm like a Tesla advocate and I'm telling everybody to get it, all those different things. And then you see how the companies, it just got reported that it's going to enter the global S&P 500 and it’s like how the world comes around and works its way around when you put those efforts in and you kind of put the energy out there. So, we saw another company and I don't think that company exists. But it was a company I actually enjoyed seeing. It was a startup company that basically gave folks points for recycling. So, you got recycling points. But that one is the one I was like, OK, now things are starting to think differently. Like you can make a company out of pretty much anything and now you just try and figure out what type of company you want to invest in and what to look for and what worked and what didn't work.

Carla Harris: So let's fast forward. You've invested in almost 40 companies, so let's talk a little bit about your investment strategy. We kind of understand how you got here and the interest and, you know, and now I'm going to call it a passion, because just hearing you talk about it, I can see that you're passionate about it. So now let's talk about how you have developed your own investment strategy. What do you look for? How do you know when something is a good opportunity? And let's talk about whether or not you have or have not adjusted your strategy around this pandemic.

Andre Iguodala: Oh, great questions. There's a few things you look for in looking at a company. What I learned early on is, the majority of the time, you're investing in the entrepreneur, the founder. And I've seen that many times where it's like, what is your reasoning for investing? And the answer is, well, this is a founder investment. Like we're betting on the founder like they've done and made their track record is undeniable. They've been to three or four companies that have had success, either been acquired through M&A's or took a company public and they'll figure it out. And you have a few entrepreneurs who maybe the company you invested in didn't do well, but then you stuck with them and he started something else that just blew through the wood works and turned into a billion-dollar company.

Andre Iguodala: So knowing the entrepreneur has what it takes to run a company, to execute, to do all the things it takes, you start to build a network of great entrepreneurs. And then, you know, you're looking at a company that is in a sector that can scale, a company that can grow out, whether it be through a community, companies like in the SAAS space, you know, software as a service, that work behind the scenes that aren't as sexy, that their margins are on a different level than your average investor will understand. I also did another internship through Morgan Stanley in the software space where I was able to meet-- and this was four years ago-- I met PagerDuty, I met Datadog, CloudFlare, Qualtrics was there. All these great companies were there. And I'm meeting all these companies and, you know, two or three years later, they're all IPOing. And it's like I met all these companies before, but it just shows like, you know, if you want that knowledge is there for you, you just have to go out there and get it.

Carla Harris: Yes, no question about it. So you've learned after now investing in these companies, especially sitting side by side with other investors, how they think about it. And it's not just about the income statement or the balance sheet or even the opportunity to pro forma of that company or how big that market can be. A lot of it, especially when you are an early stage investor, which was my big learning after being in this space for the last almost five years. It really is about whether or not that person can bring it home. And what I normally say to CEOs that I used to talk to when we were taking them public, I would say there's two questions that you have to be able to answer as a CEO: why me and why now? Because at the end of the day, they're betting on you and they're betting on whether or not you know the game and the game is the first quarter out of the gate after a public company, you better blow those numbers out. So one of the reasons you do a road show is that I need to look at you in the eye, make sure that you understand it and that you're the guy or the gal to deliver that. And the why now is there's always a reason to wait to invest in the company, to wait and see how they're going to do, to wait and see whether or not they hit the numbers. So you have to also create this illusion of scarcity. I.e., if you don't come in now, then you're going to miss it. You'll never see it again at this price, which again takes some skill in terms of doing this over and over again. Were there any skills that you called upon from being a professional basketball player that you think has helped you in the way you critique, look at opportunities, even find opportunities, maybe it's your network that has opportunities coming to you. But what have you leveraged from Andre, the pro basketball player, to Andre the investor?

Andre Iguodala: Yeah. And then let me let me add the market. The market is very important. And we see companies like you're looking at the market that you could potentially lead your company to as well. You've seen the S&P is it seems like it's being priced out 6-7 months ahead. You don't see a vaccine coming. It's vaccines. It's starting to get there, but it won't be available, you're looking at 5-6 months out and then you start to see a lot of the stocks switch out. You see a lot of the entertainment and the cruise companies, their stocks are starting to rebound with this positive news, although they may not be fully up to go in about six months. So, the market that these companies have the potential to get into are very important. And that's understanding early on where the company-- you're looking at, where the company will be two years down the road, five years down the road, ten years down the road. And I would say as an athlete that there's similar parallels in that as well, because when you're looking at NBA draft tomorrow, which is funny, you draft a player who's nineteen, twenty years old. The draft is getting younger and younger and they're drafted on where a guy will potentially be in in five years. And you have to try to navigate through all the noise, what this guy looks like today versus what he would look like if you groom him and you put him in the right culture. And when I'm talking to entrepreneurs, we talk about the culture of the company as well. You know, when you have pre-seed and you have seed companies, you know, they're just getting the product out. They're getting their go to market strategy ready. But when they start to really form their company, usually when you make an investment, a board seat comes along if your investment is a large amount, when you get around 10 percent of the company, which is what Catalyst Fund does, we look to invest early in lead rounds. So we're looking to get a board seat to help the company grow, to build their culture. And as an athlete, being on championship teams, being on teams who have overachieved, being on teams who haven't done quite as well, you get an understanding of what the right culture looks like. How to drive people the right way. I've had about 9-10 coaches, I had a lot of coaches throughout my career professionally and taken the good and taken the bad with me on this side as well. Knowing what different personalities, you have to approach differently, especially the ego driven world that we live in, in the sports and tech world. I didn't understand that until I started doing deep dives with these entrepreneurs, that there was a lot of egos, not just in the sports world, but just in life in general. And especially you got these top engineers who are being targeted by, you know, the top stocks, the fang stocks, you know, Facebook, you know, Google, Microsoft. You know, all these companies are looking for the top engineers. So they're being groomed and wined and dined with a lot of these different stock options and bonuses. So, there's egos there, too. And I've done a lot of a lot of fireside chats with companies and just been talking about culture. So, culture is a big one and it can determine your trajectory once you get to the IPO or pre-IPO space and you start to become a public company and there's a lot more that comes with it.

Carla Harris: So what do you say to entrepreneurs? Because as you know, we did a white paper about a year or so ago giving VCs advice on what they need to do to be able to invest in more folks of color and more women. And one of the things we called out as a criticism of the industry was that: A, they didn't see enough. B, they weren't clear about their criteria. And C, if somebody got to their office, they didn't necessarily give them the feedback that could help them on the other side or when they came back again for another bite at the apple. So what do you say to entrepreneurs that you don't invest in as to what they might do in order to make themselves attractive? Or what advice would you give for a prospective entrepreneur who actually might be thinking about approaching the Catalyst Fund? You know, you'd say here's the prescription to come in and how you might heighten your chances of getting an investment from us. What does that look like?

Andre Iguodala: Well, what I've seen, and I've got to mention, my partner in crime fund, Fatima Husain, does an incredible job. She came from the growth side at Airbnb, just just a brilliant, brilliant brain. And early on, it was just watching her very closely and how she responded to companies that we decided to pass on. And it was very honest and very thorough in explanation in terms of, OK, this is why we're passing right now. And it would draw up OK, you missed who could be a possible threat to you. You know, I'm looking at a company who's in the food space and how to find restaurants in a particular manner and having to give them feedback in terms of Uber eats, Door Dash, Yelp, all these companies, Instacart, that are in this space that are going to try to trickle over and disrupt you. So, try to add a feature or take this away or you have to be careful because once you start to hit a certain level of growth these companies are watching the up-and-coming new startups to make sure they aren't disrupting because they are disruptors as well. So just giving them feedback with something as specific as that has been a good help in terms of helping entrepreneurs not waste time, and fast track them on either another idea or to pivot. And trying to help companies and startups be proactive in terms of their approach and to be watchful of, you know, a company like Facebook who's gotten a lot of flack in the last couple of years on whether it be through the data or you look at Amazon as well with their data, with companies who use their cloud services in terms of they're seeing a lot of things that are happening, and then they'll scale out their company into something they read through the data and being wary of that so being proactive is very important in this space as well.

Carla Harris: So you would say to a prospective entrepreneur, first of all, show that you're proactive. Second of all, make sure you know the competition, because if you don't know what's happening around you, then I'm probably not going to invest in you. The third, it's called the Hustle Gene. Right? So how do you assess the hustle gene, if you will, because as we go back to our previous part of this conversation, you said you're betting on the entrepreneur at the end of the day. Right? And so, in my view, certainly the companies that we've invested in, I have to check for that hustle gene. How do you think about that?

Andre Iguodala: I think you try to feel their energy that they have in this space, you know? And then, like I said before, you have some entrepreneurs who just got to figure it out like they have a playbook and they just keep rolling it out and they have that track record. But for new entrepreneurs, this might be their first startup that they're trying. You got to see that they are really passionate about this space or they figured out some incredible data that no one else has seen. And they say, hey, this is something that hasn't been done yet and it hasn't been seen, and here's the data to prove that's behind it the science that's behind it. But that's still that passion, they have a passion for the data. Or they're just trying to be ultra-disruptive and saying we're going to take this whole space and we're going to run it. So, when you see something special, you try to align yourself with it.

Carla Harris: Absolutely. So, how do you think who you are or what you've done, how you've just invested in the space has enabled you to bring more deals to the Catalyst Fund? Or is that not the role you play, really?

Andre Iguodala: Well, I've learned to embrace that. Early on is kind of proving to people that you belong. So early on, I wouldn't say it as much. But now I use it as leverage. When you're going up against some of these top VC firms and you're trying to win a deal I'll use that and say, you know, I've been playing basketball for the last, you know, sixteen years, going into my seventeenth season, I'm on my way out and this is going to be my passion when I'm done playing. But I have a lot of connections, whether it be through the player associations, through the NBA offices, through some of the top companies that I invested in whether it be, I invested in Zoom, or have a great relationship with, you know, folks at Apple or anybody that I can align you with if any problem ever comes because I'm on this journey with you as you start your company. So you got to know when to leverage it and when to kind of tone it down. So it plays both sides.

Carla Harris: Yeah, it's a great playing card, no question about it.

Carla Harris: So, you know, in the ecosystem, we have institutional investors, we have venture capitalists, we have high net worth individuals, family offices. And limited partners. Let me say that because increasingly I'm realizing the power and the leverage of these limited partners to make a difference in closing the gap with respect to the distribution of capital, to folks of color, which is, you know, in the single digits, the low single digits, because I believe if the limited partners exercise their voice, then obviously the VC's that take their money will have to make a change either within their staff and certainly in the companies that they invest in. That's just one woman's view. So as you think about those constituents, the family offices, the high net worth individuals, the institutional investors like VCs, what role do you think they have to play in helping to close this gap?

Andre Iguodala: Well, I always say when you start talking about the numbers and the bottom line, that raises everyone's eyebrows. So, I say we talk about who has the strongest consumer spending dollar in the world, it's African Americans. And that alone should raise your antennas on who you should be focusing on and including. And not just African Americans, but people of color and women.

Andre Iguodala: And when you look at the top companies in terms of their financial spreadsheet the profits and the margins, the companies who have the most diverse board, most diverse culture within their companies, they have a track record and it's proof's in the pudding is in the data that shows the more diverse your company is, the higher your returns are going to be. And once you break it down to them like that, there's no denying it. And that's the that's the message that I've been giving within this last year and a half when I'm talking to people. Because you can always say, hey, you got to include us more and, you know, they can give you the runaround. We all know they're concerned when there's a crisis like the social injustices that have been widespread recently. And the community and the consumers all across the board are seeing what companies are, their mission statements are now, you know, what are you doing to show who you stand behind? There's more of that now than ever, which is amazing. You see an accountability by the consumer and that's the tech space. The more data you have, the more you can know exactly who and what you're buying from, you're seeing companies that are being started specifically to show, hey, we're trying to help the environment. Hey, we're trying to use recyclables. Hey, we're not wasting food. Hey, we're doing these different things so the consumer's smarter and they’re holding these companies accountable for what they stand for. So, these VC's and these investors, the LP's, the family offices, you know, they have to show their portfolio as well and who they're investing in and who they're aligning themselves with. So that's my message to them, is that the proof's in the pudding, who do you really stand with? Who are you trying to help? What are you trying to do? Are you just thinking about yourself or is the whole in mind? And it's not really just the whole, but it makes actual financial sense to have everyone included. And that has to resonate with them.

Carla Harris: I say that all the time, Andre. You and I may not agree on the right thing to do, but as business people, we will agree on the commercial thing to do. And so go there to the common language, if you will. So let's talk about the Players Technology Summit. 2017, you put together the inaugural Players Technology Summit. Tell us what it is and why you decided to do it.

Andre Iguodala: The Players Technology Summit is an arena that brings together athletes and the VC world. And putting them in front of the experts and hearing it directly from them was the overall goal early on and knowing how it scales out. Like there's so many different plays that comes from this, but it goes down to the true essence of these are two worlds that need to be married. They definitely influence one another in so many different ways. You see disruption of content in so many different areas and how sports plays in that. You talk about the bundle, the unbundling, but ultimately the sports package is what is keeping the cable companies alive. And there's so much power in that. And it's directly in the player's hands and the majority of the two stronger leagues, which are the NFL and the NBA in America and you talk about soccer and NBA globally, the penetration is African Americans who are active in these sports leagues. So, there's a lot of value in what we bring to the table and just marrying the sports world and the tech world, it was just perfect timing. And we're going to continue to grow this thing out. And it's just a beautiful thing. But ultimately, just getting the players to have that realization that, you know, the traditional business deals are changing. It’s not your traditional cut and paste marketing deals where it's a simple transaction-- I pay you X amount of dollars and I put your face next to my product, there's more power in it in saying, you know, there is a transaction, but then there's also you can leverage equity within companies and not necessarily asking for one percent of the company when you want to do a deal. It's I want to do a deal with your company with the option that I can take my own money and invest in your company, opening up shares for me. And I think we haven't quite got there yet. I'm kind of giving the blueprint, the playbook, but it's a direction we got to start thinking more about it being more strategic with how we do deals in the tech space.

Carla Harris: And have you had any success stories from the technology summit or was that what you were just alluding to?

Andre Iguodala: Oh, yes. It's just a continuation. Like I always say, we just starting and we've had plenty of success stories. You know, I know a couple of guys who have gotten into a few pre-IPOs, some earlier shares in different companies, opening up the relationship, opening up the doors. Obviously, the relationships that I've been able to form. I did a VC firms retreat last year that opened my eyes to some more incredible things and got access to some companies. I’ve had about three or four IPOs the past year or two. I'm at about like six IPOs up and coming next year. So I'm really excited about I'm really excited about next year.

Carla Harris: Wow!

Andre Iguodala: Goat is a company that's coming up. Truman, not too many people know about Truman, but Truman is an electronic bond trading platform that just got about passed a billion-dollar evaluation. Allbirds is another company, their shoes are selling like hotcakes in the Bay Area and they've split out into, you know, from direct to consumer, did a few brick and mortars across the country. So, then you start to see, you know, your track record start to speak for itself. But then you started building out for future your future track records where, you know, every year you got three-four companies IPO-ing and you starting to set up how that cycle works and then how these top VC firms have been doing it for the longest. You know, it's been closed off to us but now you're starting to figure out your purpose. And my purpose is to kick down that door and bring my people with me and get in on this action that we haven’t had access to ever.

Carla Harris: Outstanding, outstanding. And so that leads me to my second to last question. What's next for you, Andre?

Andre Iguodala: Yeah, to keep building, you know, I just spoke about it just lightly in terms of I got about five IPOs coming up next year and then, you know, now we're looking forward to the next year to build out who's going to look to go public in 2022 and then who's going public in 2023, and that's just going to be daily work. Now that's just your daily work. And then from there it just, it works itself. You start letting your money work for you, you know, as they say, that's compound interest on the VC side. And then just continuing to strengthen what we're trying to do with athletes. The players are becoming more business savvy than ever. I think you're starting to see that the players union are starting to become more business savvy than ever, starting to think of things a little bit differently. The education part is probably the most to me, because what I've learned is that I've been around the smartest people in the world. And they always come back to there's something new coming up every year that I got to learn. And I always have to continue to learn and educate myself on where we're going next. And you want to become the markets where you're seeing things six months, a year out.

Carla Harris: And that's one of the things that I learned very early on in my career is that the smart people were the people who were the most curious. You know, being educated and smart are two very different things. And, you know, your curiosity and more importantly, your heart and passion to want to make sure that those who are around you, who also don't know or didn't know, that you spread the knowledge in terms of what you all are doing. And I think you're right that within the players association, you guys have an amazing opportunity to have your own academy, if you will, around some of these things so that if you get a big contract and you have no money that's on you it's not that the opportunity wasn't available for you to learn some of these things and you didn't have to sew it together the way you might have had to do almost twenty years ago. Take a little from this one, take a little from that one. Now, you kind of know what folks don't know and need to know with the first contract, the second contract, the third, you know. And then be able to kind of put it together for them and build that road map. So, my hat's off to you, if Morgan Stanley can help you, let me know. Anyway, our last thing. We like to have a lightning round so that our listeners will have the opportunity to get to know Andre the man just a little bit more. Are you ready?

Andre Iguodala: Yes.

Carla Harris: OK, coffee or tea?

Andre Iguodala: Oh, my wife just got me on the coffee, but I'll probably go with tea.

Carla Harris: OK, all righty. Winter or summer?

Andre Iguodala: Summer. That's easy.

Carla Harris: City or countryside?

Andre Iguodala: City.

Carla Harris: Favorite video game?

Andre Iguodala: Tiger Woods.

Carla Harris: Oh, OK, favorite holiday?

Andre Iguodala: Martin Luther King Day.

Carla Harris: Oh, OK, California or Pennsylvania?

Andre Iguodala: California.

Carla Harris: If you had a talk show, who would be your first guest?

Andre Iguodala: Michael Jordan.

Carla Harris: OK, personal mantra?

Andre Iguodala: Luck is just hard work and opportunity.

Carla Harris: I heard that and what’s one word to describe your legacy?

Andre Iguodala: I would probably say generational.

Carla Harris: My favorite nickname for you is going to be the multiplier.

Andre Iguodala: Appreciate that. I like that. I like that one.

Carla Harris: OK, well, Andre, it has been a pleasure and an honor. Thank you very much for giving us the time. And as I promised, we got you within the space my friend.

Andre Iguodala: And thank you so much. I'm stealing that multiplier just to let you know.

Carla Harris: All right. Just say Carla Harris called me the multiplier.

Andre Iguodala: Yes, I like that.

Carla Harris: Thank you all for joining us on this episode of Access and Opportunity. Be sure to stay tuned this season as we speak to more influencers in the sports, media and entertainment fields who have committed to reframing the narrative for women and people of color. You won't want to miss it.

What did you learn today from Andre Iguodala? Send us your thoughts at CarlaPod@morganstanley.com. We would love to hear from you. Subscribe to Access and Opportunity on Apple podcast or wherever you listen. Thanks for coming along!

Carla speaks with investor and three-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala about becoming a venture partner at the Catalyst Fund, which focuses on investing in companies founded by African American, Hispanic and women entrepreneurs.

Andre Iguodala, best known as a three-time NBA champion, is now a venture partner at the Catalyst Fund. Iguodala has leveraged his success in the league to build a prominent career investing in the technology sector, and his work with the Catalyst Fund focuses on supporting startups with founders from diverse, underfunded backgrounds.

In this episode, Iguodala takes us back to how he got started in investing, the importance of surrounding yourself with smart, experienced people and how his work with the Catalyst Fund is helping African American, Hispanic and women entrepreneurs secure funding they need for growth and more innovation.

Inclusive Innovation & Opportunity