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James Harden on why he invested in The Beard Club

April 13, 2022, 10:00 AM UTC

NBA star James Harden is best known for his work on the basketball court. As shooting and point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, Harden has become one of the most prolific and top-scoring players in the league today.

Off the court, many fans are familiar with Harden’s iconic beard. So it should come as no surprise that Harden just announced he is both an investor and new brand champion for The Beard Club, which curates a toolkit for premium grooming essentials for men with beards.

Harden recently shared more with Fortune about his decision to invest in the company.

ames Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers holds the basketball.
Philadelphia 76ers point guard James Harden
Mitchell Leff—Getty Images
  • Startup: The Beard Club
  • Location: Westwood, N.J.
  • Year founded: 2015
  • Valuation: Declined to disclose
  • Investment level: Over $15 million
  • Number of employees: 13
  • Other major investors: Clayton Christopher, Tasseo Consumer Ecosystem, Titanium Consumer Capital

Why he invested, in his own words

In 2009, I decided I was done shaving. As I continued to grow out my beard and advance my basketball career, my beard started to get recognized by fans and the media. Many people believe it is a source of power for me, which is true, it brings me confidence when I enter a room or stadium. It ultimately became my trademark which gave life to the phrase, “fear the beard.” I’ve been waiting for the right people to work with in the grooming space and when I saw what The Beard Club guys were doing, I knew they were the team to do it with.

Any guy with a good-looking beard knows that it takes effort. Growing it comes with a lot of challenges so a lot of guys shave it off before reaching their goal. Either it’s too itchy, it doesn’t grow in evenly, or it’s a mess after it grows out. After I met with The Beard Club team and saw their products, I understood why they have been so successful. They’ve addressed all of these issues with premium, innovative products which help men at all phases of growth and all beard lengths. The hardware business alone, especially the trimmer, is a sleeping giant. They’ve sold out multiple times, and I’m happy my investment will now help keep it in stock.

The business already has a massive base of avid customers, and the team has ambitious plans for the future. They’ve already demonstrated they have the formula to capture a meaningful piece of the men’s grooming market which is exploding and I think we are well-positioned for where the market is heading. The data shows that beards are here to stay and nearly every category in men’s grooming is expected to grow in the coming years with the exception of razors and shaving. I’m happy to be part of the small group of people that put together this round to accelerate the business. This is a team to watch, and I’m excited to lend my platform to the mission.

This is an installment of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.