Before extending his executive career in the National Basketball Association, former Miami Heat forward Shane Battier is taking his business affairs away from sports.
Battier, 42, joined New York-based software firm Yext on Wednesday as a board member. Yext is an artificial intelligence search company that offers brand data management and helps companies increase their digital presence. It has agreements with companies such as Verizon, Marriott and Samsung.
Yext went public in 2017 and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It has a market capitalization of around $ 1.8 billion.
“When you immerse yourself in the experience of the search world, you immerse yourself in some rabbit holes,” Battier told CNBC in an interview about his latest move Thursday. “It really is an amazing technology and opportunity to put my stamp on my first business experience.”
“In the old days,” he added, “the way searches were narrowed was based on ‘keywords’. That technology is disappearing. It’s a novel idea that Yext is developing that you really get answers to your questions when you ask about something. “
Battier said he will bring “team building” experience to Yext, something he learned from playing 13 NBA seasons. The former Duke University standout played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Miami Heat, where he won two championships in 2012 and 2013.
Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
“I’ve been to places where I’ve changed culture, from a losing culture to a winning culture,” he said. “I know teams, and I know people and sometimes technology, we are so caught up in the data and technology that we are developing, but it takes people to execute.”
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Battier stepped down as the Heat’s vice president of basketball analysis and development in June. He is currently linked to management positions throughout the league, including the Utah Jazz, where his former teammate Dwyane Wade is now a co-owner.
When asked if he’s looking to take another job in basketball operations, Battier didn’t rule out the idea, but added that setting his personal affairs outside of the NBA is the main goal.
“I’m scratching my business itch right now,” Battier said. “Basketball will always be a big part of my life. I’m never going to say no to return in a more official capacity… but right now, I’m trying to make my mark as an entrepreneur. “
Battier made $ 55 million in his career, according to Spotrac, a website that tracks sports contracts. He called his investment style “conservative” and added: “I have not had too many losses and failures that have cost me dearly.”
Shane Battier (31) of the Miami Heat cannot dodge Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers in the basket in the first quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
Charles Trainor Jr. | Miami Herald | Tribune News Service | fake images
Battier is an independent board member of BOA Acquisition Corp, a special-purpose procurement company that raised more than $ 200 million in February. The SPAC is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “BOAS.U.” He also entered a “disruptive innovation fund” that owns a minority stake in South Korean e-commerce company Coupang, and personally invested in the pasta brand “Banza” and the lifestyle brand, Eastside Golf.
Battier said he wants to make his mark with “impact investing,” helping minority entrepreneurs succeed. “I think this is a good time to increase diversity not only at the board level, but also at the founder and creator levels,” he added.
When asked about his predictions for the NBA Finals, which will feature the Phoenix Suns for the first time since 1993, Battier said he supports the team. Another former teammate, James Jones, is the Suns’ vice president of basketball operations.
“I read a statistic that James Jones has been involved in eight of the last 10 NBA Finals,” Battier said, mentioning Jones’ Finals appearances with the Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. “Although, if the Hawks do it, Grant Hill, it’s going to be really tough. I’m cheering on both guys. “