Houston Native Michael Tauiliili Brown Pursues Startup After Football
Most high school football players dream of playing college ball and then making it to the NFL. For Michael Brown that dream started at Alief Taylor High School and then went onto play college ball at Duke. He was a standout at Duke, but as Business Insider reports, his mom stayed on him through college to get good grades.
In 2009 the two time all American Linebacker got picked up as a free agent by the Indianapolis Colts. While Brown was hoping to make it big, his dreams of playing NFL ball got cut short when the Colts released him after training camp. He continued to play professional ball in the UFL, the now defunct semi-pro football league.
“I didn’t play football for as long as I wanted to. I didn’t make it to retirement/pension. I was there for a Hollywood second, bounced around. Never able to get to big contract,” he told Business Insider.
Fortunately for Brown he got the opportunity to hone his entrepreneurial skills in the renowned Draper University. Draper is a two month boot camp style program for entrepreneurs. It’s extremely hard to get past the application process. In Brown’s case, he got the call from Tim Draper personally to come out and participate in the program.
Brown didn’t have a startup of his own and couldn’t find work right away in Silicon Valley so he went back home to Houston where his wife was pregnant with their first child. During that time he taught himself to code. With his coding skills firmly implanted, along with the entrepreneurial training he received at Draper he was ready to take on the world.
After graduating from college, Brown’s wife’s career led them back to the bay area. There Brown was able to reconnect with Brian Wong, a friend he had met at Draper. Wong’s startup Kiip, was looking for entry level sales people and Brown was hired.
Business Insider reports that it was there that Brown was introduced to fantasy football. The folks in the Kiip office played fantasy football and enjoyed talking smack to one another during football season. Brown’s wheels began turning.
Brown started doing some market research via his NFL buddies who basically said they didn’t care for fantasy football. He had an epiphany and decided to talk to his NFL’s friends again. This time he pitched the idea of getting involved with a fantasy sports company if instead of cash winnings, proceeds were donated to NFL player’s charities. With no work to do themselves, many football players said they would love to participate.
‘Hell, yeah’ was the answer. Because they didn’t even have to do anything. They didn’t have to host a golf tournament or a benefit dinner,” Brown said.
This past September, Brown’s starup, Win Win, held it’s first fantasy football tournament. The prize was a trip on a private jet with Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson to watch the LSU vs. Alabama game with him. The tournament raised money for the Louisiana flood victims via the Baton Rouge Area Foundation on behalf of Peterson.
Win Win prizes have ranged from sideline tickets to Cardinals and 49ers games, signed jerseys, and discounts to sports retailers.
In it’s first year Win Win attracted 3500 participants and 65 athletes.