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Bend company starts venture to help college athletes make money

Riff, a plant-based energy drink company, is offering athletes more than just cash for their name, image and likeness.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Now that college athletes can profit off of their name, image and likeness (NIL) more companies are lining up to offer opportunities. 

Bend energy drink company Riff has started an NIL venture of their own. Their energy drinks are plant powered and environmentally friendly. The company is giving athletes not just cash as part of the NIL program, but equity in the company as well as mentors and an understanding of how a business works.

"They come in and learn how the business works because if I'm thinking as a young guy when I'm younger, I didn't know anything about business," said Vernon Davis, a former NFL athlete who is partnering with Riff. "I didn't know how to approach different brands and structure deals. They come in as equity holders, they come in and they have this mentorship. They have access to a lot of great opportunities." 

RELATED: Emmert: NCAA crafting 'interim' NIL rules after court loss

Davis played for 14 years as a tight end in the NFL with the 49ers, Broncos and the Washington Football Team. Davis won Super Bowl 50 while he was with the Denver Broncos.

KGW News sat down with Davis recently and asked his thoughts on what it would've meant for him to have NIL opportunities as a college football player.

"It would've shown me how to approach deals because you don't know what you're walking into, but if you learn right now, then when you receive all of this compensation for being from the sport that you love playing, you know what to do with it," said Davis. "You know how to approach it, you already have partners, but not only that, but the partners that you have as a student athlete, they can grow with you because the bigger you get, the bigger the company gets." 

Riff has also met with Division Street, the Phil Knight backed NIL venture that will support University of Oregon athletes.

The company said the program is a couple weeks away from getting started.

This past year the U.S. Supreme court ruled in favor of college athletes making money based off their name, image and likeness. The Oregon legislature passed a law allowing it too, before Gov. Kate Brown signed it into law.

RELATED: Phil Knight and University of Oregon alumni create company to help student athletes earn money

RELATED: Beaverton High School alum donates $1.8 million to school

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