UPDATE (10:10 a.m. Feb. 23, 2021): Global insurance broker Acrisure announced today that Russell Westbrook, nine-time NBA All-Star and current Washington Wizards point guard, has joined recently formed joint venture Evolution Advisors LLC as a founding partner.
Acrisure is partnering with a celebrity couple to form a joint venture that will focus on the insurance needs of minority-owned businesses and diverse communities in the U.S.
The Grand Rapids-based global insurance broker said Feb. 3 that it formed Evolution Advisors in partnership with Russell Wilson, Super Bowl champion quarterback of the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks, and his wife, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Ciara.
Wilson and Ciara are founding partners and equity owners in the joint venture and will help guide the business and its community impact strategies.
The couple was introduced to Acrisure through their longtime friend Thomas Tull, founder, chair and CEO of Tulco LLC who became chair of the newly formed Acrisure Technology Group in 2020 after Acrisure acquired Tulco’s artificial intelligence platform. Tull has multiple ties to the sports and entertainment world — he is a minority owner of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, produced the film “42” about the life and career of Jackie Robinson, and is a board member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
In mutual recognition of wanting to make “a significant social and business impact,” the parties devised the concept of Evolution Advisors following several months of discussion.
“Acrisure is committed to making a difference, and we look forward to working alongside Russell and Ciara,” said Greg Williams, co-founder, president and CEO of Acrisure. “Our interests could not be more aligned. Acrisure’s deep insurance, financial and technology expertise will help to address the risk problems faced by minority-owned businesses and diverse communities across the U.S. Along with their broad cultural impact, we’re proud to align with Russell and Ciara’s belief that everyone should have the opportunity to grow in a healthy and positive way. Insurance and financial services are an essential piece of personal and commercial success, so we’re excited to bring bold strategies to a broad and diverse client base.”
Wilson and Ciara said they are “excited to partner with Acrisure on this venture.”
“We believe in the power of ownership, and our hope is that through this partnership, we can help create a path for diverse communities to build up their own businesses and infrastructure,” the pair said. “It’s always been important for us to give back to the community and now, more so than ever, we recognize that minority-owned businesses need to be afforded more opportunities.”
The joint venture will focus on providing greater access and more effectively distributing insurance products to minority-owned enterprises, including minority business enterprise (MBE)-certified businesses. During the past 10 years, MBEs accounted for more than 50% of the 2 million new businesses started in the U.S. and created 4.7 million jobs, according to the Senate Committee on Small Business. There are now more than 4 million minority-owned companies in the country with annual sales totaling about $700 billion.
“There is no more important mission than investing in and supporting businesses that promote equality,” Tull said. “We are honored to partner with Russell Wilson and Ciara, who are each unmatched in their respective fields and committed, along with Acrisure, to providing opportunities for diverse communities. Acrisure is … uniquely positioned to rise to this occasion, and I am proud to be part of an effort to redefine financial service access for minority business owners.”
Evolution Advisors will take advantage of Acrisure’s differentiated technology, data and analytics capabilities to identify new insurance opportunities for minority-owned businesses.
The joint venture also will seek to make an impact through community-focused efforts, building on Wilson and Ciara’s work through their Why Not You Foundation and Acrisure’s philanthropic focus on children’s health.
Founded in 2006, Acrisure provides insurance services and risk solutions informed by industry-leading technology and distributed through its global network of agency partners.
A top 10 global broker, Acrisure has locations across six countries, over $2 billion in revenue and is 92% employee-owned.
In addition to being an NFL quarterback, Wilson is an entrepreneur who heads up Seattle-based West2East, a brand management, creative content and production company, in addition to Why Not You Productions with his wife, a company that focuses on scripted and unscripted film, television and digital content projects.
Wilson has endorsement deals and global ambassadorships with Nike, Wilson’s Sporting Goods, Alaska Airlines and Bose, and he and Ciara recently founded the fashion house LRC, which includes his men’s apparel line, Good Man Brand.
In 2014, he launched the Why Not You Foundation, a nonprofit creating change by motivating and empowering youth.
Ciara is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, producer, model and actress. Over her 15-year career, she has sold over 23 million records and 22 million singles worldwide, including chart-topping hits “Goodies,” “Ride,” “Oh,” “1, 2 Step,” “I Bet” and “Level Up.” She also has starred in film and television roles, is the founder and CEO of Beauty Marks Entertainment, which positions music at the intersection of Ciara’s other passions — film, fashion, philanthropy and technology. Among other charitable work, Ciara sits on the board of the Why Not You Foundation.