All-Professional NFL linebacker Bobby Wagner could greatest be identified for his good reads on the gridiron. However the anchor on the Seattle Seahawks protection is also tackling a aspect profession as a enterprise companion at Fuse Enterprise Companions, a newly-formed enterprise capital agency that’s investing in early-stage Seattle entrepreneurs with groundbreaking concepts.
Wagner, who turned the NFL’s highest paid linebacker after famously negotiating his personal contract extension in 2019, is bringing a few of his savvy and fast strikes to the startup boardroom.
We chatted with Wagner for our newest episode of 2025: Tomorrow, At this time, a brand new podcast created by GeekWire Studios in partnership with Northern Belief. The 30-year-old Los Angeles native and second spherical draft choose for the Seahawks in 2012 supplied enterprise classes from sports activities; shared a couple of scorching funding traits; and even picked the highest NFL gamers he’d spend money on in the event that they turned entrepreneurs. Wagner is a 6-time All-Professional and energetic angel investor in corporations similar to Tonal and Denali Therapeutics.
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Listed below are some chosen excerpts from the dialog that Northern Belief’s Jordon Voss and I had with Wagner.
- On the 49ers rivalry, and why he needs to maintain homegrown Seattle entrepreneurs. “We don’t need nothing to do with the Bay Space, man (joking). Nah, I just like the Bay. The Bay is nice. Clearly, every little thing that has been in-built Silicon Valley is one thing that a variety of locations try to imitate, and rightfully so. There’s been a variety of wonderful corporations which have come out of there. However the corporations that come out of Seattle ought to keep residence, and be funded by their residence.” (Minute 3:55).
- On what he discovered negotiating his personal soccer contract that applies to negotiating with startups: “The 2 comparisons that I could make to each side is knowing your worth. …When gamers did do their very own contract, they’d this loopy worth that they placed on themselves. Think about if I got here into the constructing and I needed as a lot as Russell Wilson — they might most likely shut the door in my face. And in order that goes again to an organization. An organization may be an incredible firm, however they’ll set their valuation of their firm so excessive to the place they worth themselves out. …If I had zero tackles, I’m not going to ask for probably the most cash ever. You may’t are available and worth your organization at $10 billion in case you don’t have any gross sales, otherwise you don’t have something to justify why your organization is price that a lot.” (9:15)
- On why he’s enthusiastic about well being, wellness and health: “I believe there are going to be much more residence health areas than folks going to gyms. A whole lot of the issues that we do as skilled athletes are additionally accessible to the on a regular basis particular person, so I believe health goes to look actually completely different in about 5 years. There are going to be much more at-home issues.” (19:00)
- On why the sports activities market is so arduous to crack for startups: “There are such a lot of completely different sorts of athletes — you could have soccer, you could have soccer, you could have baseball. And you’ve got so many various age teams.” (20:30)
- On how the enterprise capital business can increase range: “A whole lot of it’s alternative, giving somebody a possibility to intern, give somebody a possibility to sit down in on a board assembly and be across the completely different corporations that you’re constructing and simply giving them entry. However for myself, it’s passing that information down. All of the information that I get, all of the entry that I get, I attempt to move that down. And never open a door, and shut it behind me. However open a door and see how many individuals behind me that I can pull in with me, and begin displaying the worth of range, the worth of getting that completely different perspective than yours.” (32:00)
- On his alternative of any NFL participant he’d wish to again as an entrepreneur: “I’m going to select a pair.” (34:00)
The dialogue with Wagner is a part of a latest sequence with main enterprise capitalists — together with Dan Li of Madrona Enterprise Group and Julie Sandler of Pioneer Sq. Labs — the place we’ve gotten their ideas on key funding themes of the long run.
Subscribe to 2025: Tomorrow, At this time in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app. This podcast is a partnership of GeekWire and Northern Belief. Produced and edited by Josh Kerns of Cypress Level Strategic Communications.