Ryan Nece

Former NFL linebacker turned entrepreneur and philanthropist

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 13, 2016

Discussion

Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
What's up ladies and Gents. I am Ryan Nece, Managing Partner at Next Play Capital. I played in the NFL for 7yrs, won a Super Bowl my 1st year with Tampa. We have 5 rings in our family. My father(Ronnie Lott) likes to remind me he has 4. I started my own foundation 9 years ago and absolutely love the work we do. Also after my playing days I was an football TV analyst during the day and a tech founder at night. I co-founded a tech company and sold it to Fox, and now I work with a great team at Next Play Capital.
@ryannece what are you working on now? Would love to hear what to expect 🤗💪😎
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Ryan! What's something you used to fundamentally believe you now see as misguided? About football, tech, or personally?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@eriktorenberg Good question. I used to believe that by hard alone you can get what you want but I have learned that timing is everything. God Lord upstairs plan is better than my plan. I have also learned that no matter if it is football or business, to be a champion, you have to do what you do not want to do, to be what you want to be!!
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@ryannece thanks so much for joining us today Ryan. Big fan of yours, my question is; Was it difficult to make the transition from sport to business and not be labelled as the sport guy? Is there anything you would have done differently if you had the process again? P.S Would love to have you on @twentyminutevc and share your story!
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@harrystebbings honestly the transition was very tough. I was scared and I am still after 7 years away from football nervous. There are a lot of things I miss about the game and I learned after being away a lot of things I took for granted. But I was very blessed to surround myself with people that were a lot smarter than I was and build relationships with them so I could learn from them. I went back to school while I was and took classes at Harvard and Stanford, so I could sharpen my tools and surround myself with other liked mined folks. I remember my teammates would make fun of me because I would come to practice in a suit because I had a meeting after practice. They didn't understand I was slowly laying the groundwork to help me when FB was over. And even with all the prep I did the transition was very tough because I was enter uncharted waters and I was the only person that was navigating the ship with very little experience.
Larry@larry_lawal
@ryannece What important truths do very few people agree with you on?
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What is the craziest thing you've seen in a pitch?
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you didn't go into NFL, what path do you think you would've taken?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@bentossell Hmm there was no guarantee that I was going to go to the NFL so I was planning on going to law school. I am glad the NFL thing worked out. ha
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@ryan_nece haha!!
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
Hi Ryan! Is it fair to say that you've transitioned from a founder to an investor now? If so, what startups excite you the most as investment opportunities? Do you plan to ever found another tech startup? Thanks!
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@alexcartaz Once a founder always a founder. I love thinking and figuring out ways to build a business. But I am enjoying my new roll, helping others have the opportunity to invest into tech and providing them with unprecedented opportunities to learn from the very best in the tech eco-system. I am very excited about NextVR and Walker & Company (Bevel is amazing!).
Porsche Tysk@porsche_tysk
Hi Ryan, 1. are many of your former sports colleagues also angel investors? 2. Is it possible to reach sports angels through their financial advisors and if so, are there any you might suggest?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@porsche_tysk No not a lot of players are angle investors. But I think that is going to change, I believe athletes are become more savvy and are educating themselves on opportunities to invest in alternatives. True Capital and RGT both work with a lot of athletes and do a good job for their clients.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@ryannece can you share any of the funniest and most surprising moments of your career? We love stories 😃
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@ems_hodge One of the funniest moments is when my uncle broke threw security, some how got onto the team bus before we were leaving to go to the stadium to bring my a water and a banana. Everyone in my family knows that I always eat one banana and drink a water on the team bus. So my uncle panicked and thought I forgot my banana and water, talked his way past security and got onto our bus. He walked by the owners, coaches and my teammates screaming, "Ryan you forgot your banana"!. I was so embarrassed.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
A lot of people can't wrap their heads around how athletes go broke. As a former athlete, do you think the VC/tech investment way is a good model for athletes? Guys like your former teammate @PhillipBuchanon seem to have figured out ways to make their money go further.
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@andrewmettinger Yes, it is true that there are a lot of stories about athletes going broke but it's not just athletes. Studies have shown that people blessed to receive a lot of money quickly (musicians. lotto winners, etc) and are not properly educated on what to do with that money squander it. It all comes back to education and taking responsibility for your own finances. Is VC/Tech a sound play for athletes it really depends on the athlete. Tech investing is very risky and if an athlete does not have a properly diversified portfolio and is putting all of his money into tech the odds are not in his favor. It is also very important for athletes interested in investing in tech to align themselves with the very best investor, founders in the tech sector. The luxury you have as an athlete is that you have access to people that 99% of the world doesn't but it is your responsibility to seek these folks out to learn from them. As for Phillip I am proud to see all the work he is doing and his desire to break the mold.
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
Who are some of the people you've gotten to know over the years that have impacted your life the most? (Stories, please!)
Brett London@brettlondon
@ryannece Curios about your take on Daily Fantasy Sports and their future and the impact they may or may not have on the actual games and players?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@brettlondon you are right, there are a lot of athletes that put their foot in their mouth...it is sad. I think it comes back to educating the players and really trying to teach them on how to leverage the power of the social platforms for good. I never want discourage a guy or gal from using social media but there is a time and places for everything. Athletes have to understand to whom much is given much is required and therefore they have to show more digression before they post something. I like to hear more about what you are working on...
Brett London@brettlondon
Thanks for the reply.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@ryannece you've turned your hand to quite a few different industries - and excelled at all! What have been the major differences in all them? Are there any similarities? What have you enjoyed the most?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@ems_hodge Yes every industry has its own set of challenges and nuances. But the one thing that I have found to be similar is the people that rise to the top are the hardest workers. They aren't always the smartest or the fastest but they hustle. I have also found that people love people that are authentic and real. None of us want to wake up everyday and go to work with fake people.
Jonah Katz@jak1192 · Engineer, Camber Creative
@ryannece Hey its a pleasure to meet you. Was living in Tampa in '02 - very exciting times. Do you have any good Jon Gruden stories?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@jak1192 Coach Gruden was amazing. One of the most intense humans I know. He crapped me one time before a game and started shaking my facemask. And started yelling at me, "Do you love ball?" over and over again, then just walked away.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What would you recommend people to do in order to be in a position to advise other startups?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@bentossell The best thing to do is give. If you feel like you can help a start-up, start sharing with them how you can help. The more you give the more you receive. It takes time to build peoples trust that you are really going to be able to help...so the best thing you can do is show them and earn their trust.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What sector/products/companies are you most excited about right now?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@bentossell not sure if you have every been to CES but if not you should def go. I am always blown away by new tech that is introduced at that show. I am excited about the healthy food space (Impossible foods for example, Juicero is another company), VR ( very exciting to see what is developing), sports (wearables, analytics, etc), and the fintech space are all exciting to me right now.
Porsche Tysk@porsche_tysk
@ryan_nece would digital health be of interest too?
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@brettlondon hey Brett - Ryan's answered below 😜
Brett London@brettlondon
@ems_hodge @brettlondon yes, had to refresh. Thanks!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@brettlondon all good! ✨
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
Who are some of the people who inspire you most?
Ryan Nece@ryan_nece · Managing Partner at Next Play Capital
@katesegrin I am inspired by my former teammates like Derrick Brooks and John Lynch. I was inspired by my dad and his teammates like Jerry Rice. I am inspired by Somesh Dash at IVP or David Krane at Google Ventures. But what wakes me up everyday are the students in my foundation. The students come from all walks of life and are learning how to share the power of giving with others. I am blown away by how our students have made an impact in the lives of others.