Baseball-focused Turn2 Equity Partners has added its first pro athlete investor: Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward, who will also be the first member of a Turn2 Players Council which plans to add additional big leaguers this year. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Co-Chairmen Jarett Sims and Peter Stein launched Turn2 earlier this summer with founding partners including Astros manager Dusty Baker, former GMs Bobby Evans and Jim Duquette, and former MLB Advanced Media executive VP Dinn Mann, whose content company, Players Studios, became Turn2’s first acquisition.
The team plans to serve the baseball community, sharing developmental data and analytics tech with pro decision makers and helping players at all levels build their social influence through media and events.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial itch that I wanted to scratch, but I found that most venture-style funds don’t allow for much participation from investors outside of just writing the check,” Heyward said. “Turn2 Equity presented me with a very unique opportunity—one that allowed me to have a voice in the ways in which the money was invested.”
Heyward will play an ambassador role for the company, contribute to its content efforts and consult on its other ventures.
“We couldn’t be happier about the fact that he’s helping guide our direction,” Sims said. “The respect he garners from his peers is really something that is important to us.”
A first round pick in 2007, Heyward is a five-time Gold Glove recipient and won a World Series with Chicago in 2016. Sims added that Heyward will help the company address declining participation in baseball among African Americans. As of earlier this year, only 8.4% of MLB players were black, and the percentage is even smaller among college players, according to NPR.
One of Heyward’s first roles at Turn2 will be appearing with Evans and Duquette on the company’s upcoming digital show, GM Files.
“When you look around sports… athletes are making a bigger impact on the tech community each year,” Heyward said. “I’m excited to be part of that trend.”