In today’s consumer startup world, celebrities can play a big role in getting companies noticed. Actors like Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Aniston, and Jessica Alba have given immediate buzz to their startup projects. Retired sports stars like Magic Johnson, Steve Nash, and Derek Jeter are involved in various new ventures.
Now a Boston startup has signed up a top basketball star in his prime as a part-owner. CoachUp, which helps match up athletes with personal coaches, has added Stephen Curry to its leadership team. The NBA all-star (pictured) plays point guard for the Golden State Warriors, and is considered by many to be the face of the current generation of players.
CoachUp founder and president Jordan Fliegel calls Curry’s involvement “the biggest news in the company’s history.” He adds that Curry is “the most marketable athlete across any sport, and he got there through skill and hard work.”
You might forgive Fliegel for any hyperbole. CoachUp has been endorsed by star athletes before, like 76ers big man Nerlens Noel and New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman. (Former NBA stars Nate “Tiny” Archibald and Doug Christie are also coaches in the company’s network.) But Curry is an equity owner now, and he stands to help the startup immensely with marketing and brand awareness as it expands its reach in the national community of coaches and athletes.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of private coaches and by joining CoachUp, I’m hoping to make it possible for young athletes all over America to be the best they can be,” Curry said in a statement.
Curry’s home base should help the company, too. “Basketball is our top sport,” Fliegel says. “And California is our top state.”
Fliegel, who played pro basketball in Israel and Europe before catching the startup bug, says he sees “all kinds of potential partnerships with retailers and brands.” That’s in part because his company has online content as well as a growing network of coaches and athletes.
CoachUp was founded in 2012 and went through the MassChallenge and Techstars Boston accelerator programs. The company has raised just under $10 million from General Catalyst, Point Judith Capital, Data Point Capital, Founder Collective, and other investors. Fliegel stepped down as CEO last year, and was replaced by John Kelley, who came from The Princeton Review and Monster.com.