NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and his son Jeffrey Jordan are venturing into the crypto world. The six-time NBA champ and his son have launched an NFT platform for athletes. Called Heir, Inc., the tech startup has already raised $10.6 million in a seed funding led by Thrive Capital, the venture fund founded by Josh Kushner, brother of Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Heir received investments from Solana Ventures, the investment arm of public blockchain platform Solana, as well as from angel investors including tech entrepreneur and investor Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit), New York Knicks executive vice president senior basketball adviser William Wesley and Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball. No word on how much or whether Michael Jordan invested. The basketball legend has an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion, according to Forbes.
The Jordans co-founded the company with marketing exec Daniel George, founder of agency Limitless Creative, and Jeron Smith, former CEO/co-founder of Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media.
First out from the company will be Heir.app, envisioned as a Web3 personalized community platform for athletes. The app helps connect athletes to their fans and to share details about themselves via Q&A sessions, polls, and generalized routine posts.
“Web3 will be a portfolio of decentralized apps that run on blockchains, Ethereum reports, and it will grant anyone permission to use the network’s services. The idea of Web3 gained the most traction this year after significant growth in cryptocurrencies,” according to Boardroom.
Through the Heir platform, athletes will sell a limited number of membership-based “seats” to fans. The fan will then get access to digital assets and first-person NFT drops, using an exclusive Heir token built on Solana’s blockchain network. Users can purchase one-time digital assets or join an athlete’s “huddle” for exclusive drops, digital goods, immersive experiences, among other offerings, Variety reported.
Revenue will come from users buying memberships in an athlete’s “huddle.” Athletes will get an 80% cut of primary sales of NFTs. Heir Inc. will retain 20 percent; on subsequent sales the allocation will be 50-50, Variety reported.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are used to verify ownership of unique digital content or assets.
Heir aims to keep the memberships to Heir exclusive with number of seats in a given “huddle” capped at about 0.5%-1% of an athlete’s existing social following, co-founder George told Variety. Once the cap is reached, “the only way to get in is if somebody sells you their seat,” he said. “The value of the huddle seat appreciates over time.”
“The Heir platform reimagines the creator-fan experience to empower athletes to engage with their fans,” Jeffrey told Variety.
Under the Heir Inc. umbrella, the Jordans also plan in addition to the app an entertainment studio and consumer products, Variety reported. It doesn’t seem, however, Michael will be actively involved.
“My dad is a strategic adviser and partner. We meet with him regularly, and he provides guidance and insightful ideas… When he was playing, he didn’t have the same tools to connect with his fanbase or monetize that,” Jeffrey told Variety.
Jeffrey is Michael’s eldest child. He was also a basketball player during his college years. He graduated from Loyola Academy in 2007, and later receive a full athletic scholarship at the University of Illinois, First Sportz reported. He later transferred to the University of Central Florida with his brother Marcus Jordan.
In September 2021, Jeffrey was arrested for assault in Scottsdale, Arizona. After falling at a nightclub and hurting his head, he was taken to nearby hospital. While he was being treated, Jeffrey allegedly assaulted hospital staff.