NY Post-The Texas native invested $100,000 with a venture capital firm in 2009, the bulk of which went to the ride-sharing app that he says was valued at just $3.7 million at the time.
Today, as the company prepares for its IPO, banks have valued it as high as $120 billion. That could make Armstrong’s shares worth more than $3 billion but he declined to reveal the exact figure, simply telling CNBC the number is “too good to be true” and “it’s saved our family.”
Armstrong’s bonanza was a giant stroke of luck after he received a phone call from former Google employee and now billionaire investor Chris Sacca.
“He was starting his own venture capital fund, Lowercase Capital, and he called me saying ‘I’m looking for investors, would you invest?’” Armstrong said.
“I’m thinking to myself, this guy has a huge personality but he’s also very smart and very well connected. So I invested in Chris Sacca. I didn’t even know that he did Uber. I thought he was buying up a bunch of Twitter shares from employees or former employees, and the biggest investment in (the) Lowercase fund one was Uber.”
I’m not sure if you generation Z kids are aware of how much Lance Armstrong meant to a lot of people. But from 1999 to 2006, Lance Armstrong was the most heroic, inspiring sports figure in America and possibly the world. I’m talking Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammed Ali-level inspiring. I remember listening to the book-on-tape version of “It’s Not About The Bike” in the car with my family. The details of his battle with cancer and his subsequent comeback, where he won 7 consecutive Tour de France titles, was the most unbelievable shit I’d ever heard. Let’s put it this way: nobody in America gave a shit about cycling, or the Tour de France. Then Lance Armstrong happened and somehow, you found yourself watching people bicycle on TV. That’s the most boring shit on fucking earth. Those mountain stages take hours. Watching people exercise? No. YouTube wasn’t around yet so you couldn’t just watch the crashes. But because of his story, you watched. For a few minutes at least.
Of course we all wrote him off when he confessed on Oprah. Most people knew. I, like many, didn’t care. As Bill Burr said, “our roided-up guy beat your roided-up guy.” The steroids didn’t cancel out the fact that he beat cancer and then dominated perhaps the most grueling sport, where every single person doped, for almost a decade. But Armstrong summarized it well—it wasn’t that he doped, but the way he denied it, that made people hate him. He was so damn vehement, so convincing in his denials. He went after people who accused him, correctly. In the end, it felt like all that he had done, all that he had accomplished, was built on a pile of lies. And that was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people.
And then you hear that he may be worth over a billion due to a $100,000 investment in some dude who called him one day. Lance thought it was going into Twitter stock! Honestly, this made me happy. Lance won for a while, then he lost for a while, and now he’s won for life. I love stories of lucky investments like this. Remember David Choe, the mural painter at Facebook who opted to be paid in company stock instead of $60,000, and who is now worth over $200 million? Awesome. Lance Armstrong may be an asshole but he still did a lot of good for a lot of people. It sucks when the world hates you, but it sucks a lot less when you have a billion dollars to build a massive tree house in the forest and live quietly, away from the haters, until you die.