Michael Jordan knows how to turn his passion into revenue streams. What he did on the basketball floor is pretty well documented, and he became the first billionaire baller in team sports history.
MJ also happens to love watches, and he’s making a killing on those two. He and Giannis Antetokounmpo, fellow NBA stars Devin Booker, Chris Paul, NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Strahan, and a couple of billionaire investors helped a company called WatchBox raise $165 million in its latest financing round.
With that, the company based near Philadelphia is off and running, raising a total of $260 million since it was founded four years ago. CNBC reported that now WatchBox is worth almost $1 billion, and the CEO Justin Reis said an IPO could happen very soon.
Here’s what WatchBox does. They have an inventory of roughly $150 million luxury watches, but instead of serving as a marketplace for the transaction, the company buys and trades luxury watches from sellers. The watches they take in are then authenticated, and WatchBox then resells them to collectors and other rich buyers. They make money on the sale, and through a transaction fee, they charge.
Here’s what Reis told CNBC.
“It’s no different than dealing with Goldman Sachs. We have client advisors that you speak to and also manage your portfolio of watches.”
If you’re into watches, you know the secondary market is booming. Good luck finding a good deal on a Rolex.
A consulting firm called McKinsey estimates that the market for pre-owned watches was $18 billion two years ago and could be $32 billion in 2025.
Matchbox will use the money from the NBA icons to expand its digital platform and open up collector lounges in LA, New York, Miami, Houston and Dallas.