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F1’s Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz join new €50m athlete-driven Apex Capital fund

Elite Performance Fund to invest across sports, media and entertainment.

5 September 2023 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas also part of fund
  • Manchester United’s Christian Eriksen and Raphael Varane join athlete lineup

Formula One drivers Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas are among the high-profile athletes confirmed as part of a new €50 million (US$53.7 million) fund from Portuguese investment firm Apex Capital.

The ‘Elite Performance Fund’ will invest in areas such as sports, media and entertainment, including a focus on athlete performance, nutrition and fan engagement.

Other backers of the fund include Manchester United’s Christian Eriksen and Raphael Varane, as well as Anderlecht defender Jan Vertonghen.

Apex partners with professional athletes on investments, targeting pre-seed to Series A investing and minority stakes in premium sports and media assets. The firm says it has an athlete community of more than 100, which also features the World Surf League’s (WSL) Kanoa Igarashi.

In February, Apex invested in Lisbon-based technology company ScorePlay in a pre-seed round that also included Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures. It also invested in smart-venue artificial intelligence (AI) tech firm Playsight.

“We are thrilled to unveil the Elite Performance Fund, a dynamic platform that utilises Apex’s track record in combination with the unique perspectives of accomplished athletes,” said Apex chief executive António Caçorino.

This fund fuses the drive, dedication, and performance mindset of athletes with forward-looking investment strategies.

“Unlike typical investors, our roots, experience, and insights come directly from the sports world.

“Athletes aren’t just our capital sources; they’re our partners. They infuse our decisions with genuine insights from their respective sports.”

Entrepreneurial athletes looking for a greater say in their investments are now increasingly commonplace. Last month, England Test cricket captain Ben Stokes was part of a group of sports stars behind a UK£40 million (US$50.2 million) venture capital fund. Other cricketers involved in ‘The Players Fund’ include England’s Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer, and India’s KL Rahul. Soccer players Chris Smalling, Héctor Bellerín and Serge Gnabry are also on board.

August also saw National Basketball Association (NBA) ace Giannis Antetokounmpo become the latest investor in TGL when he signed on as co-owner of the new golf league’s Los Angeles Golf Club (LAGC) franchise.

TGL is being spearheaded by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s TMRW Sports, which counts Steph Curry, Lewis Hamilton, Serena Williams and Alex Morgan among its high-profile backers. Apex was also announced as an institutional investor last November.

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