Basketball All-Star Carmelo Anthony just placed a big bet — off the court.
Anthony, a forward for the New York Knicks, has invested in a San Francisco kitchen-tech startup through his new venture capital firm, Melo7 Tech Partners. The startup, The Orange Chef Co., makes Internet-connected kitchen appliances, including a wireless scale that calculates a certain food’s nutrition content, including protein, carbs, fat and calories, and displays it on a mobile app.
“Nutrition is critical to my lifestyle,” Anthony said in a prepared statement. “Whether it’s training in the off season or recovering after a game, I’m always trying to make sure my body gets the nutrition it needs to keep performing at a high level.”
The exact amount of Anthony’s investment was not disclosed, but The Orange Chef raised a total of $3 million, according to Crunchbase. Anthony will also serve as an adviser to the company.
The startup, founded in 2011, is part of the emerging Internet of Things industry, which includes companies such as smart-thermostat maker Nest that are connecting everyday gadgets and appliances to the Internet. The goal is to make those devices more efficient — making sure sprinklers run at the correct time and water heaters are replaced before they break — and to collect data on consumers to send back to manufacturers.
Anthony and former NBC executive Stuart Goldfarb founded Melo7 Tech Partners in New York City to invest in early stage digital media, consumer internet and technology ventures. The venture capital firm’s first investment was New York-based digital children story creator Hullabalu; in that deal, Melo7 led a $1.8 million seed round. The firm name refers to Anthony’s nickname, Melo.
Photo: Carmelo Anthony, of the New York Knicks, arrives at the Kids’ Choice Sports Awards at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Los Angeles. By Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP