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Columbia Business School

Venture Investing for Professional Athletes

Venture Investing for Professional Athletes: Overview
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Developed in partnership with sports professionals, the Venture Investing for Professional Athletes program helps those looking to expand and deepen their business knowledge with the skills they need to identify and explore the opportunities they have for investment and wealth creation. Participants learn how to evaluate venture-stage investment opportunities and understand how and why to build a portfolio for optimal financial returns.

The program features Columbia Business School faculty who bring cutting-edge research and business theory, experienced professional athletes who understand the unique challenges and opportunities for investors in this industry, and an unsurpassed speaker line-up of top venture capital executives and startup founders who offer participants the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of the market and to expand their professional network. With guidance from these experts, participants put their learnings into action by evaluating a real, early-stage investment opportunity and prepare a professional investment analysis to share their findings.

Participants spend two weekends on the Columbia Business School campus in New York City and receive live-streamed digital content during the four weeks in between modules.


This program will equip current and retired professional athletes with the knowledge, skills, and network they need to get started or improve their skills as a venture investor. Whether it’s direct investing or understanding their portfolio as a Limited Partner, this program will help them ascend the venture capital learning curve and feel more confident in your investment analysis and evaluation skills. It’s a key tool in using all the resources available to maximize the long-term value of your brand.

Program participants will learn how to read, understand, and analyze diligence material in the role of a Venture Fund Partner. They will also have an opportunity to meet and connect with real Fund Managers and Founders of the top startups currently in the market for capital.

Unique topics we will cover in-depth include:

  • Financial Modeling for Investors
  • Preferred Equity, Convertible Notes and other Early Stage Securities
  • Investor Rights and Protections
  • Understanding Syndicate Investing
  • Demo Day – Startup Pitch Evaluation Skills

Program Structure

The Venture Investing for Professional Athletes program takes place over the course of one month. The program begins and ends with on-campus weekend sessions that kick off with a welcome reception on Thursday evening, followed by in-class sessions on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning. Live-streamed digital content will cover the venture capital landscape in depth between the two in-person modules. The digital content will be supplemented with mentor Q&A sessions and virtual office hours.

Participants will get hands-on experience on the following topics through a combination of faculty lectures and immersive case studies, covering the venture capital landscape in depth:

  • What is Venture Investing?
  • The Portfolio Approach
  • The Due Diligence Process
  • The Investment Process
  • Understanding Valuations
  • Term Sheets & Securities

The program uses a combination of interactive lectures, case studies, planning exercises in groups, and experiential learning activities that leverage New York City and it’s vibrant venture ecosystem.

The program will culminate with a live demo day, during which participants will have the chance to meet with and evaluate real-life startups in the market for venture capital.

Who should attend

Venture Investing for Professional Athletes is designed for current or retired professional athletes who wish to learn more about venture capital and startup investing. The program will also be open on a case-by-case basis to executives in the professional sports industry. This program has no prerequisites, and a collaborative environment will foster growth for participants of all experience levels.


Following a successful business career as an entrepreneur in 2001 Cliff joined the Columbia Business School faculty as the Entrepreneur in Residence. In addition to teaching “Launching New Ventures,” he serves as faculty advisor to the Eugene M. Lang Investment Fund and in 1999 initiated the Gree...
Minnihan has been educating new investors about early-stage investing for over a decade. She is the founding partner of Reign Ventures and Venture Partner at Intend Ventures. As the first executive director of Golden Seeds, she began leading their investor training sessions in 2006. Since then, E...
Colston currently serves as the managing partner of Dynasty Digital, a multi-faceted digital company he founded and launched in August 2017. A Super Bowl Champion and all-time leading wide receiver in New Orleans Saints history, Marques is also an investor and advisor to various early-stage compa...
Johnstone was a NFL star and favorite son of Philadelphia. He has lectured at the Wharton School of Business and has been featured in The New York Times, Philadelphia Business Journal, Bloomberg TV, and He serves as a member of The Advisory Board of Legacy Growth Partners, LLC. He gra...


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