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Exceptional Capital's Marell Evans on How Being a Top NCAA Athlete Helped Start a Career into VC

Exceptional Capital's Marell Evans on How Being a Top NCAA Athlete Helped Start a Career into VC

Episode 85

The rise of influencer to VC is starting to hit its stride. This has been an evolution from celebrities like Ashton Kutcher to newsletter writers like Packy McCormick. Our guest today is a part of that trend, moving from Division I college football player at the University of Michigan to sales at IBM and Okta, and now Marell Evans, Founder and Managing Partner of Exceptional Capital, is a rising star in the VC world. He is making an impact through his connections to sports and other high-impact individuals and his experience in sales and investing.

About Marell Evans:
Marell started his career in sales at IBM and Okta. He moved into the investing when he joined 415 in 2017, an early-stage fund founded by Owen Van Natta. From there he moved to Softback to help with their incubation and investing efforts and launched Exceptional Capital in 2022. He graduated from the University of Michigan.

In this episode we discuss:

01:41 Marell background and how he started playing football
02:25 How Marell was the first college graduate from his family
03:27 Who gave him motivation to succeed at an early age
05:00 How Marell views the struggles in his early life
06:59 The path from footbal to the tech world
11:10 Why high-level athletes make strong hires
13:37 Leadership is born and honed through sports
14:38 Marell’s experience at Okta
18:11 What it was like working at Softbank
21:28 Lessons he took from his time at Softbank
23:50 Marell’s relationship with Draymond Greene and what they have learned from each other
26:27 Why athletes going into VC is a techtonic shift for good
28:36 How Name Image Likeness is changing college athletics and how his career would have been different if that was in place when he played
30:19 The fundraising process for Exceptional Ventures and how he attracted high-profile LPs
33:57 What type of support his high-profile LPs have brought to Exceptional Ventures
34:57 How to get in touch with Marell

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Life Lesson
Don’t let your humility compromise your competency

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