June 18, 2015

    Jeter’s First Tech Investment Is Cyber-Bullying Deterrent

    Derek Jeter’s first tech investment since retiring from the New York Yankees is an app to combat online bullying.

    Jeter has invested in STOPit, a mobile application that allows students to anonymously report abuse to school administrators in real time. The Turn 2 Foundation Inc., which Jeter started during his rookie season in New York, also partnered with the antibullying platform.

    “By working with STOPit, we hope to empower both bystanders and victims,” Jeter said in a statement. “This is a critical step in creating a clear path to academic and personal success for all students, and sends a message that bullying in any form is unacceptable.”

    A 14-time All-Star, Jeter won five World Series titles with the Yankees, retiring as the team’s all-time hits leader. He made around $265 million in salary alone during his 20-year career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

    Jeter’s business ventures include a publishing partnership with Simon & Schuster and the Players’ Tribune, an athlete-driven media website. He’s currently raising $15 million for the Players Tribune through investors and a private stock sale.

    STOPit Chief Executive Officer Todd Schobel declined to provide financial details of Jeter’s investment, or the partnership with the Turn 2 Foundation.

    Digital World

    A 2014 study by McAfee found that 87 percent of U.S. youth witnessed cyberbullying, largely due to appearance, race, religion or sexuality. It also found that 24 percent wouldn’t know what to do if they were bullied online.

    “They live in the digital world, and unfortunately adults and educators don’t always see what’s going on,” Schobel said in a telephone interview.

    That’s partially true for the 40-year-old Jeter, according to the president of his foundation, his sister Sharlee.

    “We didn’t have phones when we were in high school,” Sharlee Jeter said in a telephone interview. “It’s just a different world.”

    Founded in 2014, STOPit allows kids to capture and anonymously report online abuse via a free mobile app on Android or iPhone. Those reports are delivered to administrators immediately.

    Peer-to-Peer Influence

    Over 100 schools in 24 states signed up for the service during the 2014-15 school year, according to Schobel. The Bedminster, New Jersey, company expects to more than double its participating schools next year, he said, reaching from 300,000-500,000 students in at least six different countries.

    The Turn 2 partnership will focus on the foundation’s Jeter’s Leaders program, comprised of high school students in New York and Michigan that are active in their communities and hoping to enact social change. They will serve as ambassadors for STOPit, Sharlee Jeter said.

    “We’re trying to feed off the peer-to-peer influence and how impactful students are among each other, instead of us as adults telling them,” Jeter said in a telephone interview.

    Derek Jeter began preparing for life after baseball early in his career, using relationships with PepsiCo Inc. CEO Indra Nooyi and basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan to gain insight into the business world. He has said he’d like to own a Major League Baseball franchise one day.

    “Derek knows what he’s interested in doing and he’s proactive,” Sharlee Jeter said of her brother. “I’m sure there are a lot of opportunities down the road that will come up, but for now he’s pretty busy.”

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