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Isaiah Kacyvenski: From NFL player to tech entrepreneur

Isaiah Kacyvenski is not your average NFL player. The retired linebacker has transformed from gridiron competitor to entrepreneur at the forefront of science and technology.


Isaiah Kacyvenski as a Seattle Seahawks linebacker
Getty Images
Isaiah Kacyvenski as a Seattle Seahawks linebacker

The former Seattle Seahawk runs business development at MC10, a company focused on wearable devices.

"Electronics are rigid and boxy. We've created a way to allow them to stretch, flex and bend," he said.

Kacyvenski's company, MC10, invented a wearable skullcap called Checklight that can capture head impact data during play through sensors built into the cap.

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MC10 and Reebok teamed to launch the product last year and provide information to players, coaches and health-care professionals about head injuries—something Kacyvenski knows a thing or two about.

"I've had 11 surgeries from football," he said.

Kacyvenski's latest project, called Biostamp, is designed to measure physical data on players' health. The device is slated to launch next year.

MC10 has raised more than $63 million to date and has 81 employees. Kacyvenski said he was drawn into entrepreneurship by the creativity and desire to "do something big."

The 37-year-old Kacyvenski grew up in Upstate New York in severe poverty. "I was homeless at times, living in a tent for months," he said.

Determined to live a better life, Kacyvenski was a star student and football player at his high school in Endicott, New York. He landed a full scholarship to Harvard University.

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"The great equalizer for all of this is hard work," he said.

Kacyvenski's career brought him to the 2006 Super Bowl as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, where he was captain of special teams. He also played for Oakland and St. Louis.

When he retired from the NFL in 2008, Kacyvenski pursued his MBA at Harvard. Today, he's an investor and adviser in almost a dozen companies, from fast food to health care to social media.

"People see me as an NFL player," he said. "I want to be be defined by a lot more than that."