A-Rod And Former Walmart Exec Venture Into Digital Retail
Former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore, who until recently ran Walmart's e-commerce business, have teamed up to form a venture capital firm that has already begun investing in digital retail.
The baseball commentator and the e-commerce veteran's new venture, Vision/Capital/People, has invested $10M to acquire a 40% stake in NOW//with, a startup that connects Instagram followers to brands, encouraging them to buy those brands, CNBC reports. The digital retail model is similar to one created recently by internet retail giant Alibaba.
E-commerce specialist Shopify has also made a similar arrangement with the video app TikTok. Their goal, according to AdWeek, is to help sellers create "shoppable" ads targeting TikTok users worldwide.
Unlike the standard model for VC firms, the Rodriguez-Lore venture will take an ownership interest of 40% to 80% in target companies. The two have put $50M of their own money into the venture and may raise as much as $500M from other investors.
“If you have a big idea, you don’t want to start with a couple hundred grand,” Lore told Bloomberg. “Instead, we put up significant seed capital, hire a world-class executive team and help the founder craft a vision.”
Rodriguez is no stranger to real estate-related investment. The baseball player-turned-entrepreneur is one of the more active former athletes in the sector, partnering with Barry Sternlicht on a development in Miami Beach, being the lead investor in a $650M real estate fund that will buy hotel assets, and investing in a chain of gyms and in multifamily, among other deals.
Lore was the founder of an online delivery service called Jet.com that Walmart acquired in 2016 for $3.3B, along with Lore's services in boosting Walmart's online presence for about five years afterward. Lore previously founded Quidsi, the parent of Diapers.com, which Amazon bought for about $550M.