Business Insider: Why Maria Sharapova’s new long-term partnership with tech wellness brand Therabody is more than just an investment
Maria Sharapova may have hung up her tennis racket in February, but her fitness career is from over.
The 33-year-old former tennis pro served as a guest shark in a March episode of “Shark Tank” and invested $900,000 with Mark Cuban in Bala Bangles, the popular weighted wrist and ankle bands that easily pass as bracelets. And today, she announced her latest fitness investment venture with Therabody, the wellness brand behind handheld percussive massage device Theragun beloved by elite athletes and celebrities.
Sharapova told Business Insider that, as an athlete, she’s always kept a close eye on the health and wellness space. When she came across Therabody a few years ago, she said, it instantly stood out to her as an industry game-changer.
When considering an investment, Sharapova said she focuses on companies that bring a different approach to a problem, whether it’s technology or a fantastic design.
“For Bala Bangles, Mark and I both felt they had such a unique perspective on design and the shortcomings of stale fitness gear,” she said. “For Therabody, their cutting-edge technology was simply unlike anything else I had seen in the space.”
Sharapova declined to comment on specific figures regarding her investment, but said she’ll act as more than an investor. As an advisory board member and consultant, she said she’ll help grow Therabody by focusing on its global expansion and advising on future product development.
“At this point in my career, I’m able to dedicate more time to exploring and pursuing new investments,” she said.
Investment-worthy brands should be different, think long-term, and have strong leadership
For 11 years, Sharapova was the highest-paid female athlete in the world. At the time of her retirement, she was the third highest-paid female tennis player and eighth highest-paid tennis player overall. Forbes estimated her entire career earnings to be $325 million, including on-court winnings worth $38.8 million and brand partnerships over her 17-year career.
It stands to reason that Sharapova’s business acumen will continue to grow her millions, especially now that she has more time to focus on her investing endeavors.
Therabody and Bala Bangles aren’t the only stars of her investment portfolio. She invested in Supergoop, the high-end suncare line, in 2014 and launched Sugarpova, her own candy company, in 2012 with $500,000 of her own money and no outside investment.
Apart from differentiation in the way brands try to disrupt an industry, Sharapova said she looks for two other things when investing in a business.
One is long-term vision — a brand with forward-thinking leaders who look ahead to growth potential, she said. The other is strong leadership. “Throughout my career, both in tennis and business, I’ve learned the importance of surrounding yourself with thoughtful experts and the best team possible,” she said.
As for aspiring investors, Sharapova has a key piece of advice. “Do your homework,” she said. “Don’t rush into the wrong decision and make sure to leave time for due diligence.”