Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins

Co-Founder & CEO at RSEVentures & Vice Chair of the Miami Dolphins

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON June 23, 2016

Discussion

Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
Hi, I'm Matt Higgins, co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures, a sport and entertainment venture capital firm. We invest, build and operate companies that are at the cutting edge of sports and technology and are aways looking for the best opportunities in the space. I've worked in multiple industries from journalism, politics and sports. I am also Vice Chairman of the Miami Dolphins and on the board of Autism Speaks. Happy to chat about all roles.
Nissim Franco
Nissim Franco@franconissim1
Hi Matt, I'm a sophomore in college from Miami interested in getting into the sports business. Do you have any tips/advice for someone like me?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@franconissim1 Nice to meet you. I get asked this question a lot, as unfortunately there are less jobs available in sports than people who want them. In my experience, sell sell sell. If you can sell, you can break into a any sports organization. And once inside, you can rise up. Also, you have to be willing to start anywhere, literally at the bottom. Some of my closest friends in the business started out with a fancy law degree, making copies until midnight. Work ethic matters everywhere, but it really matters in sports. You have to be willing to prove yourself under trying circumstances and long hours.
Nissim Franco
Nissim Franco@franconissim1
@mhiggins Thank you so much for your answer. I agree with you 100%, and that is exactly what I'm looking for, the opportunity to get into the sports industry and show everyone what I can do. I'm a hustler, looking to prove myself at any level. I know you're super busy, but I'd love to grab lunch or I can meet you at your office at your earliest convenience... lunch is on me.
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
Hello Matt and thank you for taking our questions. Where do you look for emerging trends (e.g. sources, events, websites, etc.) and how do you pick ventures in nascent industries?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@candriopoulos Great question. Honestly, I rely on people I trust who have better visibility than I do in specific sectors. For example, Gary Vaynerchuck. He's my partner in Vaynermedia, and is a force of nature. He has limitless opportunities to see everything early because he gives speeches all over the place, talks to millions of people on Twitter, Snapchat. So when he comes to me with a trend, I take notice. You don't have to have all the answers yourself - you just need to know where to go to get them. Also I try to keep an endlessly open mind. The idea from drone racing came from someone on our staff. I had no idea it might be a thing, or in some places, already was a thing, but I listened, and did my own research.
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
Hey @mhiggins thanks for joining us! Last summer I got to live stream from the @IntChampionsCup's account right from the field — one of the most memorable things I've ever done. Question: What do you see as the future of virtual reality and live sports? Watching a game on TV already has a lot of advantages over going to the game, and VR will only amplify that. Do you see "attending a game" in VR has something mainstream in the next few years? (I took the image on the left)
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@nivo0o0 @intchampionscup Glad you enjoyed the experience! We have an amazing lineup for this year's tournament as well. Hope you will join us. As for VR, I'm quite bullish on the opportunity in sports. I'm also biased, as an investor in NextVR. I think VR opens up an entirely new viewing experience that just can't be replicated otherwise. The ability to get insanely close to the action from the comfort of your own home. There's lots to be figured out in terms of the still clunky user experience, but it's just a matter of time. Great to see sports teams and leagues jump in early to experiment, which is unusual in my experience. It usually takes a long time for mature sports brands to get comfortable with tinkering in new areas of tech (see Snapchat).
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
Which company in your portfolio do you think everyone here will know about in 5-10 years?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@andrewett Great question. Struggling not to offend any of my colleagues...but let's hope they are not paying attention right now...I'll say, the Drone Racing League. It has the makings of being its own sports, and I have undying belief in our founder...Runner up would be RESY. Love what we are doing to tap into the way in which dining has become a new category of experience. Please try it out.
Snah Desai
Snah Desai@s_haverford · Operations Analyst, ServiceTitan
how to do you assist founders in building and operating their companies? Do you offer advice, resources or access to talent?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@s_haverford Depends on the circumstances, but in general, I try to supply something that they don't have and that they need. That obviously might be money, talent, an introduction, some strategic advice, or a shoulder to cry on in those dark hours. Every one making a go out of it needs a different assist. My goal with every founder I support is to identify where I can be most useful, and free up my time to make an impact. I also believe in reducing friction as much as possible. Many of our companies operate out of a big open floor plan, one large melting pot of ideas and frenetic energy. My office is a glass box that anyone can use, so that there are literally no barriers to interaction. Everything here is focused on progress. I find the right environment can shorten the time it takes to innovate - or the time it takes to acknowledge our mistakes and move on.
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
Question about the International Champions Cup: How did that part of Relevant Sports come about? Was it the European teams who got together to set up all the summer friendlies through you guys, or I guess, can you talk about how you get all these big European teams to come play in the States every summer?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@nivo0o0 A few years ago, we saw an opportunity to organize all these friendlies that were taking place around the world and create something that actually mattered. The summer window leading up to the start of the season created a window to build a global tournament. I recruited Charlie Stillitano and Jon Sheiman to launch Relevent Sports. Steve Ross came up with the idea to actually create the tournament concept, and we've spent the last four years building a worldwide team so we could go where the teams wanted to go - China, Australia, US, Europe. The matches are now broadcast to 170 countries. It's been a massive undertaking involving hundreds of people, but it's great to see it come together every summer. This year, we will be putting on some amazing matches, including Man United v. Man City at the Bird's Nest in Beijing.
5 Pixels Studio
5 Pixels Studio@reno_web_design · 5pixels.com
Hello Matt, Do you foresee AI predicting accurate game results in the near future? Do football players invest into tech startups? Thank you.
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@reno_web_design I feel out of my depth on that one. But I'll ask our Fanvision CEO Andrew Daines what he thinks. He's one of the experts in prediction in the sports space. As to your second question, I find lots of athletes want to branch out, and use the access they have to broaden their horizons. Just so happens that I'm an investor in Tiki Barber's startup Thuzio. He's doing a great job building the company from scratch.
Matthew Stevens
Matthew Stevens@finsfanct
Hi Matt Higgins! Would you please explain to us why your partner Mr Ross has NO desire to create any REAL competition at QB? In any other setting, besides football, if your 'Floor Manager' consistently under-performed for 4 years, you would look for his replacement, wouldn't you?
Jordan Nevo
Jordan Nevo@jordan_nevo
Hi Matt, I am a CPA and lifelong Dolphins fan and season ticket holder. What is the best way for me to get my foot-in-the-door towards a career with a professional football franchise? Any advice for an aspiring GM/capologist?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@jordan_nevo Show up to training camp this summer. Tell Mike Tannenbaum Matt sent you...Let me know how it goes. I'm serious BTW.
Jordan Nevo
Jordan Nevo@jordan_nevo
@mhiggins Wow. Much appreciated. I'll be there, and I'm serious too. Thank you for the reply.
Serge Znutin
Serge Znutin@serge_znutin · Funcation
How much money do you have in your bank right now?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@serge_znutin Are you counting bitcoin too?
Serge Znutin
Serge Znutin@serge_znutin · Funcation
in how many early stage startups you personally invested in the past 12 months?
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Matt thanks for joining today! What's one piece of advice you've received during your career that has most effected you?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@ems_hodge I remember it clearly. Was at a restaurant with a former boss. I was all over the place with ideas I wanted to pursue. I probably sounded a bit scattered. He said just remember one thing, watch the clock. Sounds obvious, but every decision you make comes with an opportunity cost. While you don't want to be afraid to take risk - and your appetite for risk is different at different stages of your career - you don't want to truly waste time my being undisciplined. Try to make as many intentional decisions as possible.
Theoharis Dimarhos
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi Matt! What have you found to be the best ways to network with important people? How have you met the most important people in the industries you work in?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@theo_dimarhos Begin with the premise that every relationship is important. Sounds cliche, but in my life, I have found that to be true in some amazing and unexpected ways. Second, you would be surprised by how willing people are to dispense advice, especially if you are not just going through the motions but are really looking to learn. It requires a degree of humility and persistence. Start by simply asking.
Laf. Julius
Laf. Julius@laf_julius · co- founder @evolvesports
What sectors do you typically invest in and what is your biggest achievement to you thus far?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@laf_julius We look to connect the dots. If you tend to go too far afield from your areas of concentration, you have a lot of energy leakage. Everything we do should have some connection to something else we are doing or have done. In general, we play at the intersection of sports, entertainment and tech. Where we excel is unlocking content and using our portfolio to take it to another level. I'm proudest when several companies in our portfolio our working together to pursue a common goal, like building the International Champions Cup. I'd say our biggest achievement to date has been creating the ICC from scratch in four years and assembling a global network of talent to pull it off.
david shack
david shack@shacksays · marketing @ flyp
Hi Matt, I founded and sold a mobile fan engagement platform that, in many ways, competed with one of RSE's investments: PrePlay Sports. PrePlay wound down within the last year or two, and it hasn't seemed that any in-game prediction experience has been able to get over the hump. What's your perspective on the future of mobile fan engagement during live sports? Any companies that you think are tackling the space particularly well?
Mohamed Abbassi
Mohamed Abbassi@pixmonkey · Founder @Peps / Peps.io
Hey Matt, thanks for joining PH live chat. What makes RSE ventures different from other VC Firms ?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@pixmonkey I'd start with Steve Ross. I have an amazing partner who gives us the freedom to roam, take chances, not be afraid to be wrong and early and not worry about being second guessed down the road. It unleashes tremendous creativity. Steve is also relentless, and sets a great example for the team. Overall, I think what separates us is the willingness to build companies from scratch if we see an opportunity. Easier said then done, but if you can pull it off, the rewards justify the effort.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What life experiences do you think have helped you to become a strong leader in business?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@ems_hodge Starting from nothing definitely helps. You tend to take less for granted along the way. It also makes you more empathetic to the trials and tribulations of people around you. And I think good leaders are comfortable with expressing their empathy. It's an underrated quality. Everybody experiences hardship and I think an environment where there is no shame in going through a tough time gets the best out of people. So I try to be open about the challenges I've had in my life, and also be the first to acknowledge when a decision I made is not working out. That last point might be an aspiration, but I do try.
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
How did you transition from journalism to politics to sports? What are some transferable skills you picked up along the way?
Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins@mhiggins · Co-founder and CEO, RSE Ventures
@tomstocklein Great question. I like to say I went from the front page to the back page. But there are a lot of transferable skills. With politics and sports, both are constantly in the public eye, high pressure environments. The ultimate destination for me, though, was always to be an entrepreneur. I remember graduating from law school, and had this epiphany - I have no desire to be a lawyer (no disrespect to lawyers out there, including my brother Todd). So I worked hard to put myself in the best position to ultimately be an entrepreneur and build companies.
Koji Kanao
Koji Kanao@twelvejapan · Web/iPhoneApp dev/legal tech startup
Hi Matt, thank you for your time! I think sports industry has so long history. Like how to train players, manage players, and enjoy sports, etc. Actually, I've heard some nice stories about sports tech. However, I guess bringing something new to sports industry sounds difficult. What was the most difficult thing you and your coworker did in sports industry?