Big Papi Is Becoming an Investor With the Launch of Dugout Ventures

Big Papi is entering the world of private equity, with the goal of protecting baseball's future.

After ending his baseball career with the Boston Red Sox in October, David Ortiz revealed on Wednesday that he and a few other big-name former baseball players are starting a private equity fund called Dugout Ventures, The Wall Street Journal reported. Ortiz is an investor in the firm, along with Nolan Ryan, Barry Larkin, Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter.

Dugout Ventures will focus on "companies manufacturing the next generation of baseball equipment," WSJ said. It has already provided $5 million in bridge financing to a protective baseball equipment manufacturer EvoShield as it was transitioning from bankruptcy to a sale to Amer Sports. It also made an investment in bat manufacturer Marucci Sports.

“I want to be attached to the game somehow,” Ortiz told the newspaper. “Dugout helps that.”

Having initially raised over $10 million, the group of investors plans to raise at least $50 million, Dugout Ventures Managing Director Mark Walker told WSJ. Ortiz and the other athlete investors will provide support, endorsements and consultations for portfolio companies. The fund also plans to tap current players to test equipment made by those companies.

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