Business-minded former athletes will soon have an exclusive, upscale spot in New York City where they can congregate, network and gain peer support and camaraderie, which is often lacking when their playing days come to an end.
This September, former NFL quarterback Christian Ponder and former Under Armour North America president Jason LaRose are launching The Post, a new private membership club which looks to construct a team-like atmosphere and world-class network for athletes-turned-businesspersons. It’s slated to be one of the first private membership clubs designed for former and current athletes.
After his NFL career ended in 2016, Ponder felt a void, no longer having a tight-knit community that football provided for most of his life. The former first-round draft pick aims to solve that with The Post.
“That’s really the origin,” Ponder said in a video call. “How do we create the locker room in a new form? We’re not necessarily playing on the field but we’re playing the sport of business… All the things we were trained to do in sports is the exact same in business, so we want to re-create that with the same type of people to push each other and achieve more.”
The latest seed funding round was led by venture capital firm Will Ventures, which has a partnership with OneTeam Partners, a sports agency aligned with NFL, MLB, NBA and WNBA players associations. That relationship will be key when The Post expands to accepting applications from current pro athletes, a move expected by the end of the year.
Andreessen Horowitz, Maveron, Pareto Ventures, Max Ventures and FJ Labs also participated in the $3 million funding round. The Post plans to go through another round within the next year or two, depending on the economic environment. While it remains in talks with potential investors, the startup is being careful about accepting cash as it scales.
“We’ll do it when the time is right and in conjunction with our investors,” said LaRose, who recently served as CEO of Equinox Media. “We have great people who are in it, not just to be part of the seed, but who want to be with us round after round, especially through [Series] A and B. We’re excited to prove that we have the tiger by the tail here, and we’ll worry about the capital from there.”
As of now, The Post is taking a hyper-local approach, only accepting members who live in the New York City area and will be able to come by the Soho House-esque private clubhouse in Manhattan when it opens next year. But Ponder and LaRose eventually want to open in chapters in various other U.S. markets after generating additional capital. The co-founders are still evaluating the criteria for membership approval as the launch nears but maintain that diversity and inclusion will be prioritized.
“We don’t want this to be a boys club,” Ponder added. “We find tremendous value in a diverse group, and the network is only going to be as good as it can be if it is diverse. That’s been a conversation since Day 1.”
Like Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), members of The Post will have access to a mobile application and will be assigned to a curated group or “team” based on career stage and goals.
The Post has hired former Princeton lacrosse star Crista Samaras as vice president of content. Former Yale football player Wes Gavin has been pegged as vice president of product, while former LGPA golfer Ashlan Ramsey will serve as community leader. The founding membership class will include Premier Lacrosse League co-founder Paul Rabil, a former pro lacrosse player, and Ernst & Young senior partner Orlan Boston, a former basketball player at New York University.