Skateboarders make great startup investors, according to Rob Dyrdek and Tony Hawk. The legendary skaters spoke to us about a mindset that helps them be on the lookout for the next big thing.
“The skater mentality is you’re always looking at what’s next,” said Dyrdek. He also spoke of the “NBD” or “never been done” philosophy when it comes to inventing new skateboarding tricks and believes that also applies to looking for startups.
Hawk believes that “being a skateboarder, you have to deal with so much failure and being able to navigate that and accept it, to persevere and push through,” so “that is definitely the key to our successes in other places.”
But it’s not just talk. Tony Hawk has already had some successful exits, crediting his “gut feeling.” He was an investor in Nest, the company that sold to Google for $3.2 billion. He also counts Docusign and Blue Bottle Coffee amongst his active portfolio of investments.
Dyrdek is about to launch an NBC TV Show with Tyra Banks about startup investing. The “Shark Tank”-like business competition show will also highlight the work that Dyrdek does with his “venture studio,” Dyrdek Machine.
In addition to skateboarding, Dyrdek credits his entrepreneurial past in helping him make informed decisions. “In order to fully understand opportunities,” you have to “see the trials and tribulations of them starting up.”
Hawk and Dyrdek are not the only athletes to get their feet wet in startup investing. Carmelo Anthony has his Melo 7 tech fund and Shaq is a big tech enthusiast.
Many other celebrities have also turned to tech, hoping to reap some of the financial gains that Silicon Valley titans have achieved in recent years. Ashton Kutcher is one of the more noteworthy Hollywood investors, backing things like Uber, Airbnb and Spotify.
There’s no question that being well-known can help them get access to some of the best deals.
“For both myself and Tony Hawk, it’s more the access that you get once you get to sort of an elevated cultural level,” said Dyrdek. High-profile individuals can also use their clout to help spread the word about their consumer-facing investments.
For more on skateboarders turned startup investors, watch the above video with Dyrdek and Hawk, shot at WORLDZ in Los Angeles.