Here’s something we almost missed – Polish football ace Robert Lewandowski, one of the biggest stars in Germany’s Bundesliga, is putting some of his millions into startups. The Borussia Dortmund striker, who has agreed a controversial move to bitter rivals Bayern Munich in the summer, has become a partner in Protos Venture Capital, according to a story on Polish startup blog bitspiration last week.
On its website, Protos boasts of having 40 years experience in business development, and its investment portfolio features seven startups including scondoo (which is based in Berlin), docplanner.com and Positionly, with the last two also counting Point Nine Capital among their investors.
Lewandowski’s move reflects the growing interest in startups, with young and innovative companies no longer seen as being such a risky shot in the dark. According to bitspiration author Adrian Senecki, the player was following in the footsteps of his agent, former Poland international Cezary Kucharski.
“I suggested to Robert to look at his investment choices from a long-term perspective,” the blog quoted Kucharski as saying. “New technologies and the Internet are certainly risky, but at the same time very perspective [sic] sectors. Robert really liked that idea. He met the Protos VC team and learned about the companies in their portfolio. He made his decision really quickly.”
It raises the intriguing possibility of big-name football players with plenty of spare cash to splash around – they can earn more than €300,000 a WEEK playing in the big European leagues – investing both time and money in startups.
A couple of years ago, startups in Berlin were talking about the Ashton Kutcher Effect – will we soon be noting the rise of the Bastian Schweinsteiger Effect, the Mesut Özil Effect or even the Lionel Messi Effect?