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‘Build with Bobby’: As Seahawks star departs, Seattle VC firm excited 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 keep going, according to the venture capital firm where he joined as a partner in 2020.

“No change, we’re excited to continue to build 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 to 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 off of it.

He’s been an active angel investor, backing companies such as Denali Therapeutics and DraftKings, and is 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 operating managing partner Satbir Khanuja; and Fuse operating managing partner John Connors. (Fuse File Photo)

He worked alongside the Seattle VC firm Ignition Partners for three years during his football offseasons, learning the ins and outs of venture investing. When the spinoff firm Fuse Venture Partners was created 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 a part of this team to win in Seattle.”

Fuse disclosed in January that it has raised $170 million for its inaugural fund, which has backed 17 B2B software startups based across the Pacific Northwest. It plans to make 25-to-30 total investments.

In a March 2021 GeekWire Podcast, Wagner offered business lessons he’s picked up from sports; shared a few hot investment trends; and discussed why opportunity matters.

“All the knowledge that I get, all the access that I get, I try to pass that down,” he said. “And not open a door, and close it behind me. But open a door and see how many people behind me that I can pull in with me, and start showing the value of diversity, the value of having that different perspective than yours.”

Wagner, who will likely be signed and keep playing for another football team and city, let Seattle know in a tweet of the connection that he still had to the place.

But by Friday morning, in another tweet, Wagner was clearly feeling the sting a bit of being let go by the team where he played his entire career and was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection.

Joe Michaels, chief revenue officer at the Seattle-based virtual reality company HaptX, whose Twitter bio says he bleeds Seahawk blue, weighed in for right-minded employers.

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