That Collins Cup money… where did it come from?

Chief Correspondent

PTO announce Crankstart Investments as Financial Partner

The ‘Cardiff-born billionaire’ who has partnered with the Professional Triathletes Organisation

Anyone can have a plan – but implementing it is a far more difficult task. More often than not, plans of any material size also need money. Even profitable businesses can fail because of cashflow, let alone sporting start-ups that have, as yet, to be a proven and sustainable model.

That was the position the Professional Triathletes Organisation was in back in February 2019, when it announced the appointment of North Point Advisors as its partner to raise institutional capital for its future plans which, at the time, had seen two delays to the debut of The Collins Cup. As we’ve seen elsewhere today, 2020 is the year, and the date, venue (and major prize purse) has been announced for that.

While the Collins Cup is the obvious headline news of the day, from a wider and longer-term perspective, a concurrent announcement of a financial investor for the PTO is perhaps the most important factor in the potential success of the organisation.

The Collins Cup has been designed as a flagship event for the organisation – but it is just the first step in a plan which sees other events being developed and, potentially (!), acquisitions, and additional services and resources for the athletes and wider sport.

For example, by its nature, not every professional triathlete will be able to compete in the Collins Cup – but its success could/would benefit other PTO members if over time profit is generated (via sponsorships / TV licence fees etc). With the PTO members being co-owners of the business, those profits can be utilised across a wide range of potential projects – increased prize money, pension plans, hardship funds, health insurance, education programmes and more – the type of initiatives that would be commonplace across other sports, that the PTO is seeking to aspire to within the likes of Golf and Tennis.

Back to the ‘how’ can that happen? The PTO has partnered with Sir Michael Moritz and his investment vehicle, Crankstart Investments, to move its plans forward. As well as a long and successful history as a venture capitalist, he’s a philanthropist of significant note (including a commitment to giving away at least 50% of his wealth to charitable causes through The Giving Pledge), and has also been recognised on multiple occasions by Forbes Magazine as the number one venture capitalist on their Midas List. Having been on the Boards of Google, PayPal, Linkedin and Yahoo! amongst many others, that’s a partner with some significant history.

Whether that investment will prove to provide a financial return or end up going the way of his philanthropic donations, only time will tell. From the PTO’s perspective however, it looks like a good partner to have on your team at the start of a journey.

Here is the formal announcement that was released today.


The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced that it has partnered with Crankstart Investments, an investment vehicle for Michael Moritz, in establishing a platform for professional triathletes to begin to realise their goal of athlete self-determination. As a result of this partnership, the PTO is also announcing that The Collins Cup will be held from 29-30th May 2020 at the x-bionic® sphere, in Samorin, Slovakia, and there will be over $2,000,000 in prize money for the event.

Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO, commented “This day has been long in coming and we are grateful to the great professional triathletes who have, through all their blood and sweat over many years, paved the way for this opportunity to materialise. The Collins Cup will be a true celebration of both the history and the future of the sport we love so much, and we look forward to hosting the event and engaging the entire triathlon community.”

Charles Adamo, Chairman of the PTO, stated that “The PTO has been working for a number of years to create an environment and structure where professional triathletes have a meaningful voice in the way the sport is operated and can contribute to its growth for the benefit of the entire triathlon community. We are very pleased to have teamed up with Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz, who share our vision in the potential of the sport and the best means by which to see it grow and thrive.”

Under its partnership, the PTO and Crankstart Investments share equally in all profits generated by operations. Michael Moritz, Chairman of Crankstart Investments, commented “The spread of the internet, the rise in the number of media outlets thirsty for top-notch sporting content, combined with the latest production techniques now make it possible to bring to international audiences the extraordinary accomplishments of today’s highest performing athletes – the top forty male and female triathletes in the world. A major part of the attraction of the PTO is that, unlike every other sport, men and women compete for equal prize money and the athletes are co-owners of the business. This means that all participants will share, on an equal footing, in the PTO’s collective success – a recipe that is a mainstay of the Silicon Valley investment model.”

Tim O’Donnell, Co-President of the PTO, commented “We are very pleased to be able to provide professional triathletes with the platform to put on display their tremendous athletic performances and make a difference in our sport. We are grateful for the confidence that Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz have placed in us, and we appreciate that with this confidence comes great responsibility. As co-owners in this partnership, the PTO and its professional members are committed to not only making it a success, but also to being a contributor to the growth of the sport and the wider triathlon community. While arranging the investment, we were working behind the scenes and over 100 professional triathletes have become members of the PTO, including all of the top 35 men and top 35 women in the PTO World Rankings. Now that we have been able to make this announcement, we can invite all licenced professionals to become PTO Members. There are no costs or membership fees involved and any professional can find out more information by e-mailing us at [email protected].”

North Point Advisors has acted as exclusive placement agent for the Professional Triathletes Organisation.

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