Drew Brees is a Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP, and 10-time Pro Bowl quarterback. That much you probably know.

What you might not know is that Drew is also an extremely successful entrepreneur. (Yep, Drew is an "and" -- and is definitely a serial achiever.) Drew owns or co-owns a number of Jimmy John's and Dunkin' Donuts franchises and sports bars, and with his wife also created a charitable foundation.

The latest business he's invested in? FanChest, the startup that creates curated sports team gift boxes filled with exclusive, officially licensed products that aren't available in stores or online. (I recently wrote about FanChest here.)

I talked with Drew about being an entrepreneur, why he got involved with FanChest, and, on a higher level, what he looks for when he considers a business investment.

Your playing and business profile means you have plenty of opportunities to choose from. What appealed to you about FanChest?

First of all, I love the founders of the company and the people involved.

Whenever I look at an opportunity, it's always people first.It's one thing to have a great idea. Executing it is the hard part.

So you have to look closely at the leadership for any business or any product.

With Dan and Jeff, their backgrounds speak for themselves. And they've already shown they can execute on this idea.

They're reaching out and touching fans directly, providing them with a product and a service that did not exist. And they've proven they can do it in an efficient manner.

But you still have to feel good about the product.

Absolutely. Obviously, I like the sports focus. That clearly appeals to me. Then the idea of putting together a FanChest as the ultimate gift for sports fans, either as a great way to start off the season or as a great gift for the holidays, delivering that experience and taking the thinking out of tracking down all these things yourself.

It's all officially licensed gear, items you can't buy individually, packaged specifically for our customers. Put all those cool products together along with the service and delivery and it's a no-brainer for a sports fan, or for people who need a gift for a sports fan. 

Plus, it's something I can appreciate on a personal level. I'm an NFL player, but I also know what it's like to have kids who love this stuff.

Deciding to start another business, or get involved with another business, money is involved, but also time, and time is a finite resource. So how do you decide you're willing to invest that time? 

You're exactly right. I'm a husband and father first. After that, football is my full-time job during the season, but I like to put my industrial management degree from Purdue to use as well. (Laughs.)

I love evaluating business opportunities, getting involved in areas of the market where I feel like there's a need, where there's an opportunity to do something better than what has been done before, to get involved with people who are doing it the right way, and providing a product or a service that can be the best in class.

Does that mean you like the startup phase more than the "maintenance" phase?

I like both. I love creating and executing ideas. But I also love the evolution: You almost always start in one place, but then you end up in another place, and after that you still continue to evolve the business as you better understand your customers and what they want.

Evolution is a really fun part of business. Reacting to the market, reacting to customers, making your business more efficient and effective--that's just as much fun as the initial startup period.

Sports merchandise, fan gear, collectibles--it's a fairly crowded space. How do you see FanChest gaining even greater traction?

One, we have genuine confidence in what we provide. We work with more than 100 officially licensed brands. And Jeff and Dan have done a great job of establishing partnerships not just with teams and schools but also with individual athletes.

Another thing is our customer service. Great products matter, but if you don't provide great service, no one cares. We make it seamless. Order a FanChest for someone, and you know you're providing a phenomenal gift, one that people will appreciate, and one that takes all the stress out of the gift-giving process. (Laughs.)

So while the sports space might seem crowded, when you can provide the ultimate fan gift and experience, suddenly it's not so crowded after all.

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Published on: Nov 9, 2017