Blaise Matuidi From World Cup Glory To Tech Investing Stardom

When you hear the name Blaise Matuidi, it’s easy to be transported to that euphoric summer evening in 2018 when France clinched the World Cup. However, the narrative for this talented midfielder has shifted from sporty goalposts to tech startups.

In 2021, Matuidi, in collaboration with investor Salomon Aiach and entrepreneur Ilan Abehassera, unveiled Origins, a VC fund committed to supporting nascent consumer startups in Europe and North America. Recently, they even inaugurated an office in Paris.

Matuidi, having hung up his football boots, observes that he’s among the pioneering European athletes transitioning into tech investing. This shift is already prominent in North America, where Matuidi manages Origins’ US wing.

He notes, “European athletes tend to concentrate solely on their sport. However, their North American counterparts often juggle their sporting careers with business endeavors, giving them an edge in post-sport career avenues.”

Post-Sport Ventures: A Look Across the Pond

Take NBA icon Kevin Durant or tennis superstar Serena Williams. Their venture firms have stakes in diverse sectors, from open-source enterprises to healthtech. Former NFL star Malcolm Jenkins jumped onto the investment bandwagon early, backing giants like Airbnb and Instacart.

Matuidi believes this divergence stems from educational contrasts. In the US, many athletes complement their sports training with a college education, thanks to substantial scholarships. Contrastingly, European athletes often immerse themselves in training, sometimes before completing high school.

But, as Matuidi emphasizes, sportspeople should see beyond their current careers. The emergence of VC funds like The Players Fund in the UK is evidence of the changing tide, with high-caliber athletes increasingly exploring investment opportunities.

Origins aims to amplify this shift. Many of its Limited Partners (LPs) are athletes, such as footballer Presnel Kimpembe and rugby champ Antoine Dupont. Matuidi asserts, “Athletes need to recognize that there’s an expansive world beyond their sports careers.”

Transitioning from the Field to the Boardroom

Jumping from the adrenaline of sports to the complexities of venture capital is challenging. Matuidi began with modest angel investments, acquiring knowledge through hands-on experiences and occasional errors.

Jokingly, he mentions, “Just as I can’t make Ilan an overnight soccer sensation, mastering investment wasn’t instantaneous for me.”

However, his lack of an MBA or formal business training hasn’t hindered his progress. Origins, with its impressive 160 million-strong combined social media followers from its high-profile LPs, offers startups unparalleled visibility.

Their unique approach includes personalized marketing campaigns for their investments. Initiatives, like Matuidi’s collaboration with Moka Care on a podcast series or promotional Instagram snippets for Upway, an e-bike startup, underscore the synergistic blend of sports, fame, and tech.

When quizzed about the potential pitfalls of mingling football fame with tech investments, Matuidi’s confidence is palpable. He believes that their stature provides leverage, opening doors to lucrative deals.

In Conclusion

Blaise Matuidi’s journey from a celebrated footballer to a budding tech investor is a testament to the endless possibilities that lie beyond the realm of sports. As more European athletes tread this path, the fusion of sports charisma and tech innovation promises a win-win for all.