Matt Higgins (businessman)

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Matt Higgins
Bornc. 1975 (age 43–44)
Alma mater
OccupationBusinessperson

Matt Higgins (born c. 1974)[1] is an American businessman and the co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures,[2] a private investment firm that focuses on sports and entertainment, media and marketing, food and lifestyle, and technology. In 2012, Higgins co-founded RSE[3] with Stephen M. Ross, the founder of Related Companies and owner of the Miami Dolphins. Higgins also serves as an executive for the Dolphins, and had been a high-level executive with the New York Jets.

Early life[edit]

Higgins was born in Flushing[4] and grew up in the Bayside neighborhood of Queens, New York City.[5] He is of Irish descent.[6] After growing up in abject poverty and taking care of his ailing mother, Higgins decided to drop out of high school at age 16, obtain his equivalency diploma and enroll at Queens College,[7] where he took night classes and graduated with a political science degree.[8] He started his career as an award-winning investigative reporter at the Queens Tribune and attended Fordham Law School at night, while working for Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani as the youngest press secretary in New York City history.[8]

Career[edit]

Higgins is the CEO and co-founder of RSE Ventures, a company that has invested in various companies and technologies, including: FanVision, the handheld device that is the official in-venue content provider of NASCAR,[9] Thuzio, the project of former NFL running back Tiki Barber and Mark Gerson of Gerson Lehrman Group,[10] and the Drone Racing League,[11] the world's first professional drone racing circuit. RSE Ventures also incubated and invested in restaurant reservation app Resy,[12] which American Express acquired in 2019.[13] In 2016, Higgins negotiated a deal to have RSE Ventures become a minority stakeholder in Momofuku.[14] In 2017, he also negotiated RSE Ventures' funding of Milk Bar, launched in 2008 as part of Momofuku, and D.C.-based fast-casual pizza chain &pizza's national expansion. In 2018, RSE acquired cybersecurity company SkOUT Secure Intelligence[15] and acquired a significant minority stake in Australian-style coffee and café business Bluestone Lane.[16]

Along with these investments, Higgins and RSE have launched several companies, such as the International Champions Cup in 2013 - the annual summer soccer tournament that brings together the best soccer clubs in the world, public relations firm Derris and Insignia in 2012 (now Ascendent Sports Group).[17] RSE Ventures also partnered with Gary Vaynerchuk in 2014 to form VaynerRSE, a $25 million seed fund and incubator.[18]

Higgins is also the vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins,[19] serving as an advisor to owner Stephen Ross on business and personnel decisions. Higgins helped hire Mike Tannenbaum, the Dolphins' executive vice president of football operations. Prior to the Dolphins, Higgins worked for the New York Jets from 2004 to 2012, serving as the executive vice president of business operations and close advisor to Jets owner Woody Johnson.[20] Higgins was instrumental in helping the team build MetLife Stadium with the New York Giants, building a new training facility in Florham Park, and using Twitter, Facebook and a revamped website for fans to have better access to the team.[citation needed]

Before his career with the Jets, Higgins was COO of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the firm tasked with rebuilding the site of the World Trade Center.[21] He also served as press secretary under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, managing the global media response to the September 11 attacks in 2001 for New York City.[22]

Beginning in 2018, Higgins has appeared as a guest investor on the series Shark Tank.[23] He was part of a five-Shark investment in the Cup Board Pro, the product of late FDNY firefighter Keith Young, whose children pitched the product after he passed away from 9/11-related cancer. The Sharks pledged to invest any profits into a charity that will benefit firefighters suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.[24]

Recognition[edit]

In 2007, Higgins was recognized by Crain's New York as one of the top 40 executives under 40 in New York.[25] Four years later, Sports Business Journal selected him in their "40 under 40" list as one of the most outstanding executives in sports.[26] In 2015, Forbes listed RSE Ventures as one of the 10 best organizations to work for in sports.[27] In February 2017, RSE Ventures portfolio companies Resy and Drone Racing League were named to Fast Company's World's Most Innovative Companies 2017 list,[28] and in 2018, portfolio company &pizza was named to the list.[29] In 2019 Higgins joined the ranks of former U.S. presidents, Nobel Prize winners and CEOs when he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The award recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share their wealth of knowledge, courage, compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity with those less fortunate.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Higgins is a board member of Autism Speaks and an avid runner.[31] He is also a testicular cancer survivor, which he successfully treated in 2007.[31][23] In 2011, he ran the ING marathon to help raise money for autism.[32] Higgins received a bachelor's degree from Queens College and a juris doctor from the Fordham University School of Law[31] in 2002.[33]

In 2016, he urged fellow Republicans to cast their vote for Hillary Clinton – arguing that the ″preservation of the republic″ is more important than ″taxation and anything else″.[34]

In 2019 he delivered the commencement address at his alma mater Queens College[35], where he established the Linda Higgins Empowerment Scholarship to help support single parents in obtaining college degrees, in honor of his late mother.[36] According to Vanity Fair Contributing Editor Paul Goldberger, "This is a magnificent and truly inspiring speech that everyone should read. If you think commencement speeches are made of cliches, this one will change your mind. To me it belongs in the same category as David Foster Wallace’s great speech at Kenyon College commencement in 2005."[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AskGaryVee Show". YouTube. New York City. October 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "Ex-Jets Executive Joins Miami Owner's Venture". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  3. ^ "Sports Technology Writes New Playbook for Investors". Bloomberg Business'. Retrieved February 25, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "Interview number five with Matt Higgins". Justin Higgins. May 4, 2016. Archived from the original on October 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "Alumni Info: Matt Higgins". Queens University, City University of New York. Archived from the original on October 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Hancock, Ciarán (August 6, 2018). "Irish-American businessman looking to strengthen links with Ireland". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on October 23, 2018.
  7. ^ http://www.justinmhiggins.com/new-blog/2016/5/3/the-life-advice-guide-insta-interview-number-five-with-matt-higgins
  8. ^ a b "El Clasico was just the start. Steve Ross' right-hand man has big plans for Miami". Miami Herald. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  9. ^ "FanVision, PrePlay Inc. merge to digitize the real-life sports experience". New York Business Journal. Retrieved February 25, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "Tiki Barber's Thuzio raises $1.5 million to pimp out pro athletes". Pando Daily. Retrieved February 25, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ "The owner of the Miami Dolphins just made drone racing a million-dollar sport". Quartz'. Retrieved August 12, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ "Airbnb invests in restaurant reservation app Resy". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 4, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ "American Express is acquiring Resy". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 4, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ "Momofuku restaurant empire gets new investor". New York Post. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  15. ^ "Stephen Ross makes $30m bet on cyber security". Financial Times'. Retrieved February 4, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  16. ^ "Billionaire Bets on Australian-Style Coffee and Avocado Toast". Bloomberg'. Retrieved September 4, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  17. ^ "How RSE Ventures Is Revolutionizing Business As We Know It". Forbes. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  18. ^ "Here's what Gary Vaynerchuck is really up to with that new $25M fund (exclusive)". VentureBeat. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  19. ^ "Young and influential: Miami Dolphins fans know little of Matt Higgins, key adviser to owner Stephen Ross". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  20. ^ "Jets executive vice president Matt Higgins steps down after eight years with team". NJ.com. Retrieved February 25, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  21. ^ "Blocks; World Trade Center Endures. Read the Signs". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  22. ^ "New York Jets VP was Giuliani press secretary during 9/11". Sporting News. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Badenhausen, Kurt (October 21, 2018). "Meet The Newest 'Shark Tank' Judge: Sports Dealmaker Matt Higgins". Forbes. Archived from the original on October 23, 2018.
  24. ^ "A Firefighter Died Before His Product Could Appear on 'Shark Tank.' Now 5 Sharks Are Investors". Inc'. Retrieved September 4, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  25. ^ "Matthew Higgins - 2008 - 40 Under Forty". Crains New York Business. Retrieved February 25, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  26. ^ "Fory under 40". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved February 25, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  27. ^ "The Best Organizations To Work For In Sports". Forbes. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  28. ^ https://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2017
  29. ^ "THE WORLD'S MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES 2018 HONOREES BY SECTOR". Fast Company”. Retrieved April 20, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  30. ^ "Chatham Resident, Shark Tank Judge Wins Medal Of Honor". Patch'. Retrieved September 4, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  31. ^ a b c Bishop, Gregg. "Dealing With Cancer, Jets Executive Slows Down by Running". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  32. ^ "Daughter gives Jets exec reason to run". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 25, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  33. ^ Svogun, Nate (October 15, 2018). "Dolphin in a Shark Tank". Fordham University Law News. Archived from the original on October 24, 2018.
  34. ^ "Clinton expands outreach to male Republican voters in wake of Trump issues". USA Today. October 14, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  35. ^ "Bayside-Born CEO To Headline Queens College Commencement". Patch'. Retrieved September 4, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  36. ^ "Scholarship Fund Helps Women Realize Their Dreams". NY News1'. Retrieved September 4, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  37. ^ "Tacking: Matt Higgins' Queens College 2019 Commencement Address". Paul Goldberger'. Retrieved September 4, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)