The elder Lacob is a veteran venture capitalist from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. When he bought the team in the summer of 2010, he joined forces with entertainment mogul Peter Guber and formed an ownership group replete with big money techies, including YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley and venture investors Mark Stevens, Bob Kagle, and Chamath Palihapitiya.
This means the Warriors are one phone call away from any executive in Silicon Valley—and the same is mostly true in reverse.
Athos, a developer of smart apparel that contains sensors to monitor conditioning, counts Palihapitiya as a co-founder and principal investor. That relationship led to an intro to Joe Lacob, who invested himself 2014.
Thanks to these connections, Kirk Lacob began evaluating the company's technology for the Warriors at the prototyping stage, before Athos had much of anything available for trialing.
"I couldn't even let Kirk or any of the players try it," said Jake Waxenberg, director of brand strategy at Athos in Redwood City, California. "We had one pair of shorts with wires in it."
Athos is now being used for the Warriors NBA Development League team in Santa Cruz, where Kirk's younger brother Kent is general manager. Kirk said he looks to Santa Cruz as a testing ground for technologies that aren't proven out enough for the NBA team.
Second Spectrum's technology is already there.
The company's software uses cameras to collect data from every player move, shot and pass, so teams can analyze with deep granularity everything that's happening during the game.
Is Steph Curry adding too much arc to his shot? What happens when Curry and Draymond Green use the pick-and-roll against certain defenders?
The Warriors signed on for the 2014-2015 season, the year they won their first NBA title in 40 years. Stevens, a former venture capitalist from Sequoia and a member of the Warriors' ownership group, invested in the technology when the founders were coming out of the University of Southern California, where Stevens previously donated $22 million to start an innovation center.
Rajiv Maheswaran, Second Spectrum's co-founder and CEO, said that when he first went to meet the Warriors at the practice facility in Oakland to show off the technology, the whole management team seemingly showed up.
"We've had intros to lots of teams, but the Warriors are the only ones who brought everyone of significance to the first meeting," he said. "They signed us up and then won the championship. I'm sure that has everything to do with us," he joked.
Second Spectrum now works with 22 NBA teams, though the Warriors were one of the first.