He's been called Shaq Daddy, the Big Shaqtus, Mayor McShaq and even Superman. Could four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal's new nickname be the Venture Shaqitalist? (Tweet This)
That may be a stretch, but like so many big-time celebrities, O'Neal is trying his hand at start-up investing. The future Hall of Famer said on Friday that he's backing online investment site Loyal3 and joining the San Francisco-based company's advisory board.
Founded in 2008, Loyal3's mission is to democratize stock market investing. The company gives everyday investors, who want to put as little as $100 to work in emerging brands, access to initial public offerings. And it sells fractional shares of stocks, making it possible to buy a piece of Google for $10, as opposed to a single share for $535.
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It's also free for consumers, meaning no $9.99 transaction fees.
"I thought this was good for the common man, and Shaq is all about the common man," said O'Neal, who won NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, in an interview. "You don't have to be super rich to start out with Loyal3."
O'Neal, who declined to say how much he's investing in Loyal3, heard about the company during NBA's All-Star weekend in New York, from a friend who knows CEO Barry Schneider. O'Neal liked the idea, so he set up a breakfast meeting with the CEO.