Kevin Durant is becoming a big-time Silicon Valley investor -- here are the VCs he considers his mentors

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  • Kevin Durant and the rest of the Golden State Warriors are making a lot of venture capital investments in recent years.
  • Durant talks about his Silicon Valley mentors in a new interview with ESPN.
  • Durant has invested in 16 companies, according to PitchBook data, including Postmates and LimeBike.

Professional athletes often invest their substantial earnings into small businesses, but the Golden State Warriors take it to the next level.

Not only is the team owned by Joe Lacob, a partner at legendary venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, but its players have started to make a lot of head-turning investments in young technology companies.

They’re getting guidance from some of the best VCs in the business, too. Warriors star wing Kevin Durant talked about his personal business strategy in a recent interview with ESPN, and his “mentors” are big-name guys who most techies would kill to have dinner with.

Durant said he gets advice from:

  • Ron Conway, an angel investor who invested in Google and Facebook early.
  • Ben Horowitz, an investor who cofounded Andreessen Horowitz with Marc Andreessen.
  • Chris Lyons, the chief-of-staff at Andreessen Horowitz.

Durant said in the interview that playing in the Bay Area helped him make these connections: “I mean, you just go to dinner with these guys, hang out with them. You start to meet these types of people at games. It’s a little easier being here than saying, ‘Let’s meet up when I come in from Oklahoma.'”

Durant also expressed a deep appreciation how much work a venture capital firm needs to do before it decides on an investment, and understands the overall “hit-based” model of the business.

Here’s what he said:

“I used to think these billionaire venture capital firms got ahold of one company, invested in it and it blew up. I didn’t know that they get 100 deals to look at in a day and pick the best nine or 10 to consider. That’s a lot of work. That’s an everyday process of vetting that out. You can’t just skim through it. They figure out what the companies are, they talk to the CEOs, the coders. They have to really do their homework on it.”

Durant and his company, the Durant Company, have together invested in at least 16 companies, according to PitchBook data. They include Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global, smart drone company Skydio, on-demand delivery startup Postmates, scooter startup LimeBike, and Hugging Face, a chatbot for teenagers.

The entire interview with Kevin Durant at ESPN is worth reading, even if you’re not into basketball.

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