July 15, 2024

Former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston, along with his business partner Nick Edwards, is aiming to raise $100 million for an athlete-focused venture fund called Champion Venture Partners (CVP). The fund, which also functions as an investment management company, is designed to assist athletes in transitioning from sports to entrepreneurship.

Marques Colston (@MarquesColston) / X

CVP’s unique approach aims to enhance accessibility to deal flow pipelines not only for former athletes but also for retail investors and other underrepresented groups that typically lack opportunities for investment and support for their business ideas. Colston emphasizes the goal of creating access points for everyone, ensuring that individuals have the opportunity to build wealth, particularly at the intersection of sports and business.

The fund, set to launch soon, follows a nontraditional model incubated internally as a portfolio company of the nonprofit VC firm BisonX. Leveraging the infrastructure and resources of the North Dakota-based VC fund, Colston and Edwards plan to identify and nurture later-stage sports-related businesses. Unlike traditional venture capital models, the fund aims to provide quicker returns, operating more like an internal fund at a private equity firm.

Colston, who played for the Saints for ten seasons before retiring in 2016, acknowledges the challenging fundraising landscape for venture capital. He believes that CVP’s lower-risk profile model will offer increased liquidity and opportunities, given its atypical investment profile. The goal is to reach the $100 million target within the next three years while simultaneously deploying capital. Colston, a former Super Bowl champion, specifically targets sectors such as sports tech, data, media, and entertainment companies.

This venture represents the latest initiative for Colston, who has been a longstanding advocate for retired athletes. As the CEO of Marques Colston Enterprises since his last season in 2015, he has served as a growth consultant and investor in startup companies within the sports tech and wellness space. Colston sees this platform as an opportunity for venture capitalists to diversify their portfolios, emphasizing the need for collective efforts among athletes to educate and share deals, addressing the existing education gap in the athlete-venture capital landscape.

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