I started my own athlete procurement and representation agency in 2013 and am also an investor and advisor to numerous startups from Austin, Dallas, Chicago and Silicon Valley:
Mizzen + Main
Access CAVU Partners
Abels on the Lake
1) What gave you your idea for the company?
I was doing similar work at an agency and decided that it was now or never to try and go out on my own. I focus on athlete procurement for corporate clients, so basically hiring athletes for endorsements and appearances. I also represent a few retired players such as Charles Haley, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, and Michael Finley. Companies and their agencies don’t have a good model or system of hiring athletes for their needs. There is no menu on prices or costs, so it is up to whatever the budget is and then however much the more experienced agent is going to try to charge. I assist my clients by knowing the landscape, costs, and what they should be paying for a particular athlete. I try to get them the best price and then I manage the execution: travel, autographs, social media posts, etc. I make it as painless as possible on my clients.
2) How did you go about setting it up? Do you have co-founders? What knowledge helped you the most in the process?
I simply setup the LLC with the Texas Secretary of State. I am a licensed attorney so that certainly helped me, but it is not that complicated of a process. I was on my own, but had plenty of mentors and people that I could ask questions as they arose, that was invaluable. Setting up the bank account, designing a simple logo, and choosing your accounting platform were all done in the first couple of weeks. After that, my relationships kicked it into high gear – the ability to have work waiting for me once I started, that is what got me over the hump.
3) How is the company doing?
JTK Talent LLC is doing great! We have exceeded what I even thought we could do. I set some basic goals as far as revenue and I hit them in the first year. I’ve partnered with several other agencies, most of them local to Dallas, to help grow the business as well. What I do is very much a niche, so I play well with others in the space. I’m not trying to steal their clients; I just want to help the end result be successful.
4) What did you learn in the process?
I learned that just because someone likes you when you have a certain job, that does not necessarily mean that they are your friend. I was fortunate that many of the people I worked with still trusted me with work and partnerships even after I had left a very prominent sports marketing agency. They did not care that I was not there anymore and had lost some of my purchasing power, they still supported me and helped bring me business. Or course there are some that drift away when you take a risk, but those people are not going to help you in the long run anyway.
5) How do you select the companies you invest in?
As far as investments, I was first approached by Chat Sports to be an advisor. They were in the early stages and a friend of my fraternity brother, Chris Herndon, reached out and said he was starting a new sports media company and that he saw on LinkedIn that I had many connections that would be beneficial. So I started there and it was a great experience and since then it has grown to my wife and I being a part of several great startups. I usually select them based on the people. I am in a fund that Joe Montana manages and he and his partner, Ron Conway, told me that it’s about the founder, not necessarily the company or idea. Obviously, you have to have a great product, but it is that fact the founder is 100% on board that makes a success. I also look at companies that may have a need for some guidance in the sports space down the road, and hopefully I can provide some value to them there!