Dontari Poe, a current National Football League free agent nosetackle, who played his first five professional seasons with the KC Chiefs, is focused on much more than just finding his next NFL destination this offseason.
The 26-year-old Memphis, Tennessee native is also heavily engaged in building his off-the-field brand as well.
Later this month, Poe will be engaged with a big event for his charity, Poe Man’s Dream. In May, Poe will be a speaker at the fastest-growing technology conference in the United States, Collision. In addition to that, Poe is a spokesperson for Coca-Cola and Nike and is looking to further his investment footprint in technology.
It’s Poe’s vision for technology that has driven the second annual Poe Man’s Challenge, this year to be held in San Francisco, California. The event features a live “Shark Tank” format in which tech startups local to the San Francisco area will pitch to Poe and other judges, with the winner of the competition getting a $15,000 investment from Poe. The event also has an added element of local startups teaching underserved youth about entrepreneurship and making pitches to investors.
"“The companies that get selected for the challenge have to mentor the kids during the day,” Poe said. “That’s the most important part of the whole thing. We want real founders to teach the kids. We want the kids to be ‘founders for a day.’ I like the fact that entrepreneurs like to help each other out.”"
The Poe Man’s Challenge has become an integral part of Poe’s brand, and he plans to expand it in the future.
"“We are planning one in Memphis and want to do another one in Kansas City. I like the midwest because there are a lot of good companies that are cheap to invest in,” stated Poe. “It’s a shame that the midwest does not get much investment focus. I feel there is a big opportunity in the midwest.”"
Also in keeping with the theme of technology, Poe is actively looking to expand his portfolio in that sector. He is already invested in Lab Sensor Solutions, which provides real-time location and temperature tracking technology.
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"“As an investor, I can’t comment on who has pitched me,” explained Poe. “That’s part of being an investor. You have to keep that stuff private. I can say they are in digital health, financial services, education, VR/AR, and AI. All of them are trying to not only make money but help people. I like companies that are solving real problems and trying to help people. The Lab Sensor Solutions investment has opened up more deal flow for me. I also got invited to speak at Collision because of my investment.”"
Collision, at which Poe will partner with Lab Sensor Solutions for his presentation, is an opportunity that Poe is anticipating in the interest of continuing to build his brand.
"“I’m looking forward to that,” Poe elaborated. “There will be a lot of startup people and companies to check out.”"
At Collision, he also plans to capitalize on his recent notoriety regarding his play on the offensive side of the ball on the football field to make himself stand out. Poe said that he plans to incorporate the terms “Bloated Tebow Pass” and “Hungry Pig Right” in his presentation.
"I do plan on using that in my talk at Collision in New Orleans,” Poe commented. “I got invited to talk about how I pick companies to invest it and that’s part of it. I can’t talk too much about that because we have some fun stuff planned for the talk.”"
Whether it’s in Kansas City or elsewhere in the NFL, fans enjoy watching Poe play football. Poe’s personal brand is growing to equally powerful status, and his game plan to dominate that side of his life will carry him for decades after the prime of his football career has passed.