Kevin Durant continued his investing hot streak when health tracking firm WHOOP announced a $200 million Series F funding round Monday at a $3.6 billion valuation. The four-time NBA scoring champ first invested in the company in 2017, and WHOOP was tabbed at a $125 million valuation during its Series C the following year. The new appraisal means a roughly 2,800% return for KD and his investment vehicle Thirty Five Ventures.
It caps a stellar month for Durant. He led Team USA to a fourth straight gold medal in a classic performance to beat France, a week after he became the all-time U.S. leading scorer. Next came a four-year, $198 million contract extension with the Brooklyn Nets, with his club entering the 2021-22 season as the NBA title favorites.
The WHOOP financing round was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, and the valuation is three times the Series E in October; Durant increased his WHOOP stake during that round. WHOOP has raised roughly $400 million since it was co-founded in 2012 by current CEO Will Ahmed. The company said it planned to use the capital to invest in R&D to build the future of wearable technology, along with investments in technology, personnel and new markets. WHOOP offers a monthly subscription service for its wristband that tracks respiratory rate, heart rate variability and sleep quality.
The wearable technology category is expected to more than double over the next five years. The booming market has attracted other pro athletes to invest in WHOOP, including football legends Patrick Mahomes, Larry Fitzgerald and Eli Manning, along with golfers Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. WHOOP has official sponsorships with the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, CrossFit and NFL Players’ Association. It is the only product of its kind approved for in-game use by Major League Baseball.
Thirty Five is run by Durant’s longtime business partner Rich Kleiman and has 25 full-time employees focused on KD’s endorsements, investments, media properties, foundation and sports business media network Boardroom. Durant has more than 75 active startup investments, including Acorns, Overtime, NBA Top Shot-maker Dapper Labs and sports card investment platform Alt.
He’s posted a series of investment wins in recent months. Digital currency exchange Coinbase went public in April and closed at $328 on its first day of trading, marking a 54-fold increase in valuation from Durant’s 2017 investment—shares are down 20% since. Online broker Robinhood made its stock debut in July, and its current $38.6 billion market cap is 32 times the valuation at which KD invested in 2017. The Nets forward posted another huge paper gain this summer when Mercury, an online bank for other start-ups, raised financing at a $1.6 billion valuation, up 16 times from Durant’s 2019 investment.
Durant’s startup activity ramped up when he joined the Golden State Warriors in 2016. Those early investments tended to range from $250,000 to $1 million. He’s bumped his more recent commitments to as much as $3 million. The company would not comment on Durant’s stake in WHOOP.
(The story has corrected the headline to read $3.6 billion as WHOOP’s valuation, not $3.2 billion.)