The story behind why former NFL player and successful investor, Bryson Keeton, decided to back Newmine
Apart from a few big names, such as Softbank chief executive Masayoshi Son, or Warren Buffet, most people aren't aware of the investors in a company. So when I learned that a former NFL football player invested in our company, my curiosity was piqued. I wanted to know why an NFL football player decided to invest in Newmine, and my prognostication was that others would like to know too.
Bryson agreed to meet and satiate my inquisitiveness. Typically, I would deliver the story in a question-and-answer format where the interviewer (me) asks intelligently worded questions followed by pre-conceived answers that stress the brilliant, forward-looking nature of the interviewee. At the same time, the reader can take a few quotable nuggets with them to use elsewhere. Win-Win. But within seconds of meeting Bryson, I immediately understood that was the wrong angle. So let me tell you a better version of the story.
Bryson Keeton was a former player for the NY Jets, a model, and now a VC investor for multiple companies, crossing different sectors, including technology, real estate, and esports. He has a knack for early investment, including pre-seeds, Series A, and Series B companies. His CBD and cannabis investment was the first legal, commercial operation in Kern County near Bakersfield, California. Couple this success with his 4 am workouts, and Bryson would appear to be set apart from the rest of us latte-drinking, late-night, binge-watching people. But, in truth, he is a relatable, humble, and supportive person.
His entrepreneurial spirit started young, selling candy as a kid to his classmates around school. When he finally got his work permit at fifteen in California, Bryson was thrilled at the prospect of making his own money. He, like many teenagers, went to numerous fast-food restaurants looking for that job and paycheck.
Listen below: As a teenager, Bryson looking for a Job
The same spirit followed him from California to college in Montana and finally to New York and the NFL. Based on proximity, these steps opened up Bryson to other opportunities that he had not been exposed to had he remained where he was. When first stepping into Manhattan, he felt the energy and passion of business and strongly desired to learn more. Professional careers in the NBA, NFL, or MLB can be short-lived, so if you're thinking futuristically, you'll want to invest the money that you make. And now, surrounded by different people running professional organizations, Bryson started investigating what they did and how they became qualified. That curious mind led him to become a profitable trade and foreign exchange trader while he was in the NFL. And one could argue that his sports background gave him the propensity to take calculated risks and place earned trust in others.
Listen below: When Bryson first came to the NFL
But no success comes without struggles. One of the hurdles to overcome was information. And not the lack of information but the lack of pre-engrained experiences to know that information exists. Every person has a different background; therefore, we are all subject to various degrees of this. Where we grow up and what we are exposed to dramatically influence the questions we know to ask. But understanding and overcoming these challenges produces remarkable outcomes and can broaden one's perspective beyond a single niche.
Listen below: The importance of information
Bryson isn't an investor that sticks to one industry or sector. And, as I am speculating here, his background of living in various places across the country, his calculated risk-taking that you learn playing a team sport, and his curious mind explain this openness towards other sectors. As mentioned, his other investments are not all tech, all AI, or all retail. After getting operational experience with early-stage companies from pre-seeds, Series A, and Series B, he went on to an expanded portfolio of companies rather than walling himself off. As Bryson shared with me, "When you want to align yourself with successful companies, you have a better chance by being open to more sectors and industries at different stages. As an investor, you also get knowledge and input that can often cross-permeate across different sectors, which if you only stayed within the one, you'd never know."
Which brings me back to - Why did a former NFL player decide two years ago to invest in Newmine? Bryson's answers are logical - Newmine provides a great value proposition for small and large retailers and consumer brands that can capture the market. And Newmine's AI is in an excellent position to drive transformation with where the world is going. Additionally, Newmine has some outstanding and respected early customers. While these are rational answers, it doesn't answer how it happened or why I focused on Bryson's background. Let me share that story by weaving in the backdrop above.
Part 1 – Proximity
Bryson spoke at the Nantucket Founder's Retreat in Cape Cod two years ago, which Navjit, the CEO and Founder, attended.
Part 2 – Purpose & Business of Energy
He had no intention of investing in Newmine but saw the Navjit energetically conversing with other people and "dressed for business." Bryson and Navjit eventually exchanged business cards.
Part 3 - Taking Risks | Earned Trust
The two spent time together, where Bryson evaluated the company and Navjit - his vision, speech, energy and approach. He was impressed that an early-stage company and Founder had the initiative to go after big, named retailers and flush out the ideas with them, where so many other Founders didn't have the conviction or bravery to run with their ideas.
Part 4 - Information
And finally, he worked through the process to ask questions, gather knowledge, and do his best to project if he believed in this. Does he see it working in the future? Who else knows about this company? How does it stack against his other investments?
There's the "why" Bryson Keeton invested in Newmine, and then there's the story behind it that illustrates the reasons.
Listen below: Why Bryson Decided to Invest in Newmine