The former Ireland international rugby player, Jamie Heaslip, is becoming a textbook example of how to transition from sport into modern business.
Eschewing the role of a corporate mascot, Heaslip has chosen the role of tech investor and promoter, meeting young startups to see whether they’re worth a punt.
Some are. One of his earliest bets has just paid off spectacularly. Pointy, the retail listing startup cofounder by Charles Bibby and Mark Cummins, recently announced its acquisition by Google in a nine figure deal. Heaslip is understood to have made a six-figure sum from his initial investment.
Other bets, such as the analytics firm Kitman Labs, look promising for a significantly augmented return in the near future, too.
And if tech hits another bubble, he has a few Dublin pubs to fall back on, such as The Bridge 1859 and Lemon & Duke, as well as a job in Google he could probably return to.
But Heaslip doesn’t think that startup tech is going south anytime soon. He has just taken a deeper role in a fintech firm, Flender, that has created a new online platform to match lenders with small businesses who want to borrow sums up to €300,000.
Adrian Weckler sat down with Heaslip to ask him about tech, trends, culture and the transition from sport to investing.