New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston has become an investor in Enerskin, an innovative, up-and-coming company that seeks to be a game-changer in the compression apparel industry. The Super Bowl champion and former seventh round pick adds Enerskin to a long list of companies in the sports performance and health/wellness industries in which he is involved.
What is a current National Football League player doing investing in start-ups during the season? Colston recently explained to me why Enerskin is a good fit for him and how investing during his playing days is a wise choice.
Why is Enerskin a good fit for Colston's cash flow?
"It's a product line that is a natural fit in terms of my 'day job,' and one that I can leverage my relationships to enhance and drive business," explained Colston. "Also, with it being an industry I am very familiar with, the learning curve is not as steep."
Oftentimes, we hear about athletes squandering their successes by entering into poorly selected investment opportunities like obscure start-up restaurants. Instead of following that destructive path, Colston decided to invest in something he knows about -- performance-related apparel. It lowers the time necessary to conduct due diligence and provides Colston with a company that he believes in.
"Athletes often find themselves being driven towards investment opportunities that may not fit their skillset," said Colston. "If you're able to get involved in an industry where you have an understanding, you have an opportunity to add value, as well as actively manage your investment at times."
Additionally, he knows that he can use his persona to help develop the brand and be a "strategic investor."
Colston refused to disclose the financial details of his partnership with Enerskin. However, he did state that the partnership includes an equity stake, endorsement deal, advisory board seat, as well as a sales and distribution relationship.
Why Colston has started investing while still in the NFL
Colston is in his tenth NFL season, which means he is likely nearing the end of his career. Instead of waiting to become a businessman off the field, he has decided to start making preparations while he is still racking up touchdowns.
"I was fortunate to have great advisors early in my career that played professionally themselves," said Colston. "They stressed the importance of leveraging the platform of being a current NFL player while at the height of my earning potential. Once you're no longer a player, those things diminish and your risk tolerance lessens as your NFL income is nearing its end."
Colston could have waited until retirement to start finding vehicles that may increase his wealth. Instead, he realized that no time is greater than the present and has started to make preparations for what will hopefully be a strong career after football.
What goes into Colston's strategy in making investments?
"Once the prospective opportunities are vetted, there are a few factors that go into my building my alternative investment portfolio," said Colston. "Two important ones are synergy and industry familiarity."
From a strategy standpoint, Colston seeks to see how the venture fits into his portfolio as well as the synergy it has with other ventures in which he is already involved. With industry familiarity, Colston recognizes that it helps to get involved in industries where he has a wealth of knowledge so that he can add value beyond simply writing a check.
"My competitors will have made their careers in the same industry, so my prior knowledge in the industry is a way to level the playing field," added Colston.
How Colston became a businessman off the field
"I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and about 5-6 years ago I began to think about life after football," explained Colston. "I've been able to use a lot of the ancillary experiences in my NFL career like personal branding and marketing, sports medicine and performance, among other things as learning moments to apply within my business ventures."
Colston has practical experience as owner-operator of a professional indoor football organization, where he was called upon to assist on football operations and corporate sales. He also started taking classes as part of an Executive MBA program, which he plans on finishing upon retirement from the NFL.
Where else is Colston's money?
Colston has an equity stake and a board seat and/or management position with the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul, sports combine testing technology Sport Testing Inc., sports performance facility D1 Sports, holistic wellness company Timeless Herbal Care, angel network IBR Ventures, nutraceutical company VitaGenesis, healthy water solutions company Watercura and functional water for kids Wat-Aah!