Tennis icon Andre Agassi was in Mumbai recently to launch the India operations of Square Panda, an artificial intelligence-based literary products brand based in Sunnyvale, California. The eight-time Grand Slam champion is an investor in the 2014 launched startup which works with a special focus on students braving dyslexia.
Driven by his passion for education, Agassi has invested more than USD 1 billion (via a fund) to promote 90 charter schools across the US over the past six years. Many of these public-funded charter schools don’t even charge tuition fees.
“My lack of education was probably the greatest vehicle to my commitment and interest in the education sector,” Agassi has told leading business daily Economic Times on the sidelines of the launch of the Square Panda’s India operations in Mumbai. Agassi stopped attending school after eighth standard for pursuing tennis. “No education, forced to play tennis, and no choice,” laments one of the most successful tennis icons ever. “So, I always correlate ‘no education’ with ‘no choice’. This led me to disconnect with my own sport, even though I was the best in the world. Education endows you with choice,” he said in exclusive interview with the paper.
The tennis icon’s other investment interests include stock markets through the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund. He also invests passionately in sports. “Here (in sports), I take a much more aggressive position – investing my time as well as money,” says the legend.
Besides Square Panda, Agassi has partnered with companies such as athletics video site Unscriptd, coffee chain Lavazza, restaurant chain Michael Mina, exercise machine maker Bilt, online ticket exchange platform Viagogo and community bank Meadows Bank over the past few years.