‘Build with Bobby’: As Seahawks star leaves, Seattle VC firm is eager to keep Wagner as partner

Former Seattle Seahawks star linebacker Bobby Wagner in action in 2019. (GeekWire File Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Bobby Wagner’s career with the Seattle Seahawks has come to an end after 10 seasons, but his career as a tech investor in the city will continue, according to the venture capital firm he joined as a partner in 2020.

“No change, we are excited to continue building with Bobby,” Fuse general partner Cameron Borumand told GeekWire on Friday.

The Seahawks released the All-Pro linebacker and longtime defensive captain on Wednesday, a day after the equally surprising news broke that the team was trading quarterback Russell Wilson for the Denver Broncos.

Drafted by the Seahawks in 2012, Wagner established himself as a fan favorite for his no-nonsense work ethic on the field and dedication to the city beyond.

He has been an active angel investor, supporting companies such as Denali Therapeutics and DraftKings, and is a part of a16z’s Cultural Leadership Fund. Wagner negotiated his own contract extension in 2019, becoming the NFL’s highest-paid linebacker.

From left: Fuse venture partner and former Seahawks captain Bobby Wagner; Fuse general partner Kellan Carter; Fuse General Partner Cameron Borumand; Fuse operational managing partner Satbir Khanuja; and Fuse, operational managing partner, John Connors. (fuse file photo)

He spent three years with Ignition Partners, a Seattle-based VC firm, during his football seasons, learning the ins and outs of risk investing. When the spin-off company Fuse Venture Partners was founded in July 2020, they asked Wagner to join as a partner.

“I plan to be very involved,” Wagner told GeekWire at the time. “I’m excited to be part of this team to win in Seattle.”

Fuse announced in January that it has raised $170 million for its inaugural fund, which has supported 17 B2B software startups in the Pacific Northwest. It plans to make a total of 25 to 30 investments.

In a March 2021 GeekWire Podcast, Wagner offered business lessons he took from sports; shared some hot investment trends; and discussed why opportunities are important.

“All the knowledge I get, all the access I get, I try to pass it on,” he said. “And don’t open a door and close it behind me. But open a door and see how many people are behind me that I can pull with me, and start showing the value of diversity, the value of a perspective different from yours.”

Wagner, who is likely to be signed and continue to play for another football team and city, tweeted Seattle that he still had a connection with the place.

Thanks Seattle for everything. It will be my home forever.

— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz) March 9, 2022

But Friday morning, in another tweet, Wagner clearly felt the sting of being let loose by the team where he played his entire career and was an eight-time Pro Bowl roster.

Crazy part about all this. I played there for 10 years and I didn’t even hear from them that I wouldn’t come back.

— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz) March 11, 2022

Joe Michaels, chief revenue officer at Seattle-based virtual reality company HaptX, whose Twitter bio says he’s bleeding Seahawk blue, weighed in on right-minded employers.

Who treats an employee like that, let alone a legend?

— Joe Michaels (@joemich) March 11, 2022

This post ‘Build with Bobby’: As Seahawks star leaves, Seattle VC firm is eager to keep Wagner as partner

was original published at “https://www.geekwire.com/2022/build-with-bobby-as-seahawks-star-departs-seattle-vc-firm-excited-to-keep-wagner-as-partner/”