In December 2015, I talked to former NFL wide receiver Marques Colston about why he decided to invest in start-ups during his playing days and how he set his sights on specific investments. One of the important things that Colston mentioned was his realization that he could leverage the platform of being a current NFL player at the height of his earning potential and that, once he was no longer a player, those things diminish as risk tolerance lowers.
Recently, I caught up with Colston to see what he is working on as of late. It appears that the savvy businessman is now not only focusing on his own pursuits, but also helping other athletes who can hopefully follow in his footsteps.
Colston brought me up to speed on his recently launched partnership with Columbia Business School, which is providing an executive education program that covers venture investing and entrepreneurship for professional athletes. Colston is more focused on the venture investing program that emphasizes the due diligence process; preferred equity convertible notes and other early stage securities; understanding valuations; term sheets and securities; and evaluation of real startup companies.
For instance, the due diligence portion of the program will start by asking, what is due diligence? What are all the steps typically completed during the due diligence process? How do you know that you have completed through due diligence? Why is due diligence critical to the performance of your portfolio?
"We're excited to provide current and former athletes tools to navigate the venture space successfully," says Colston. "These skills complement the intangible skills and assets that have separated them as elite level performers and competitors."
The first module of Colston's program goes from April 5-8, while the second module will run from May 17-20, all at Columbia University in New York. The program will also contain online, live digital content.
"Columbia Business School is truly excited to launch this new initiative. Our goals is to ensure that professional athletes are armed with the business acumen and investment skills to be successful as they pursue a new type of competition on a different playing field," said Dil Sidhu, associate dean of Columbia Business School Executive Education. "Our rich experience in providing executive growth opportunities to senior leaders across the globe, coupled with our deep connections to the investment and entrepreneurial communities, make our Executive Education program uniquely suited to deliver this type of learning to professional athletes."
Colston says that the program is eligible for the NFLPA tuition reimbursement program, which allows active players to receive up to a $20,000 reimbursement each League Year for tuition, fees and books related to undergraduate or postgraduate coursework.