NBA franchise Atlanta Hawks have announced the launch of Hawks Ventures, a venture capital fund aimed at startups. The fund, which is worth $50 million, will primarily target companies that are led by minorities and women.
Hawks Ventures plans to invest the initial $50 million venture funding over the next five years, with the investments designed to benefit the Hawks franchise and State Farm Arena commercially. David Garcia will oversee the fund as managing director of innovation and investments.
The Atlanta Hawks are the latest sports property to embrace startups as a means of finding innovative partners to enhance their business operations. The NBA and Major League Soccer (MLS) are among the US major sports leagues that have launched funding schemes for tech companies. Earlier this year, tennis' Australian Open also launched an incubator for sports tech startups.
Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler expressed enthusiasm for the venture, stating that "Creating a fund that could strategically enhance our business and leverage the experience and talents of our ownership group has been something that we have been working to put our resources and energy into from the beginning. Hawks Ventures is an endeavor that our ownership group is extremely passionate about, and we are excited to be able to invest in and work with the significant untapped potential of minority- and women-led entrepreneurs."
Hawks Ventures will begin identifying startups for investment immediately, focusing on businesses that will help the franchise innovate their operations. Garcia will lead the fund in identifying startups for investment immediately with an eye on businesses that can help the franchise innovate their operations. The venture capital fund for startups is a natural progression for the franchise as they look to drive innovation, efficiency and enhance their overall business model.