Who would've thought investing in a startup could lead to this much fortune?
Imagine making a $6 million investment in a business into a $400 million fortune. Sounds too good to be true, but that’s exactly what happened to the late Kobe Bryant, who only made a single investment in the sports drink business “BodyArmor.”
In comparison to his 20-year professional basketball career and endorsement earnings combined, Bryant’s estate has made more money from a single investment in the sports drink firm BodyArmor, owing to his keen business sense and a little bit of luck.
Kobe bought a 10% share in BodyArmor for $6 million in 2014 after taking only one sip of the beverage, which marketed itself as a better substitute for Gatorade.
In 2018, Coca-Cola paid $300 million for a 15% ownership investment in BodyArmor, valuing the business at $2 billion. In exchange for an additional 15% equity stake, Coca-Cola also took over all bottling and distribution.
Following Coca-Cola’s purchase of the remaining 70% of BodyArmor in 2021 for $5.6 billion, which valued the business at $8 billion, Kobe’s estate earned $400 million on a $6 million investment, making the deal profitable for them.
Kobe had a net worth of $600 million before his tragic death in January 2020, including a pre-tax valuation of $200 million for his 10% interest in BodyArmor. His after-tax net worth, combined with his previous net worth of $400 million, would have increased to $670 million if he had gotten the $400 million windfall from the Coca-Cola deal.
Mike Repole and Lance Collins, co-founders of BodyArmor, had previously developed successful beverage businesses, including Glaceau, the proprietor of Vitaminwater and Smartwater, purchased by Coca-Cola in 2007 for $4.1 billion.
Compared to Gatorade’s yearly revenue of over $8.5 billion, BodyArmor’s revenue in 2021 was about $1.4 billion. With that, Kobe’s investment in BodyArmor serves as a reminder of the potential financial gains that can come from investing in a startup.
The late basketball player’s investment in the business not only provided his estate with a significant return on investment but also made BodyArmor one of the fastest-growing sports drink firms in the world.