To represent University of Michigan college athletes in name, image and likeness (“NIL”) opportunities which are consistent with the university’s high standards for ethics and compliance. To maximize the individual earnings for our athletes in opportunities which are consistent with their personal brand while providing an experience optimized for the student-athlete.
Since our founding in 2021 our team has secured over $315,000 in NIL deals for University of Michigan student-athletes through the following:
- Group licensing apparel deals with the football, basketball, and hockey teams
- Signing events at The MDen
- Marketing partnerships with local and national brands
- Licensed NFTs
- Media appearances
- Signed memorabilia
- Podcast appearances
- Private training sessions
Brands That Our Clients Have Recently Partnered With:
Jared Wangler - Founder & CEO
Valiant Management Group (“VMG”) was founded in 2021 by former University of Michigan football player Jared Wangler. Jared played fullback for the Wolverines from 2014 to 2018 and was a four time Academic All Big Ten player. Jared studied psychology and entrepreneurship in his time at Michigan and always had a passion to pursue business opportunities that would align with his love and deep respect for college athletics.
Jared co-founded the Valiant apparel brand with his father, John Wangler, in 2016 with the mission to create a brand specific to the University of Michigan. Upon graduation, Jared began interning at a professional sports agency with the dream to one day become an NFLPA certified agent. Once the NCAA released their name, image and likeness (NIL) guidelines, Jared jumped at the chance to bring NIL services to Michigan athletes in a manner that aligns both with the university's high standards and the unique needs of a student-athlete.
Jared defines the strategy and direction for VMG, bringing an enthusiasm and competitive edge to each day in order to create the most compelling opportunities for the student-athletes he represents.
Niko Porikos - Co-Founder & COO
VMG was co-founded by Niko Porikos, a former hockey player for the University of Michigan. Niko played forward for the Wolverines from 2014 to 2018. At Michigan, Niko studied entrepreneurship and international studies. He also studied sales and marketing at the Ross School of Business. Starting his technology entrepreneurship at a young age, Niko brings over 14 years of digital marketing and commerce experience to VMG. Before co-founding VMG, Niko founded the digital commerce agency Nikomerce which has launched over 20 digital businesses.
Among other things, Niko leads our unique student-athlete marketplace which includes one of the first ever NFT collections that can be purchased without the complexities of using crypto-currency.
Niko’s connection to the University of Michigan runs deep as his father was a standout soccer player for the Wolverines and his family owns the Ann Arbor landmarks, The Brown Jug and The Blue Leprechaun.
Phil Hollyer - Advisor, Investor and Head of Finance & Fundraising
Phil Hollyer brings VMG over 30 years of experience as a founder, senior executive and value creator. Phil is a serial entrepreneur who thrives on building new businesses and creating meaningful experiences for their customers. After leading product development for a successful early stage software startup, Phil went on to found two digital agencies that began as ideas and grew to be nationally recognized brands serving hundreds of clients across North America including Domino’s, Mars, Coca-Cola, JP Morgan Chase, Wilson Sporting Goods and others. He is currently executive chairman of Bounteous, the latter one of these agencies, which is now a New Mountain Capital portfolio company. Bounteous is also a key innovation partner to VMG.
During his tenure at the helm of these firms, he has led and grown teams from sales, marketing, HR, finance, technology, design and analytics. He has worked on numerous early stage companies as well as Fortune 500 brands and personally led teams responsible for launching some of the most successful digital enterprises including Apartments.com and Dominos.com.
Phil has experience with private equity, venture capital and M&A and is currently lending his expertise to VMG in the areas of finance and fundraising. Phil also advises the founders in the areas of strategy, digital marketing and operations.
Phil has a passion and love for the university of Michigan coming from a family which now spans four generations of Wolverines. He graduated cum laude from a combined graduate and undergraduate program in the EECS department in 1987. He is also passionate about supporting the University of Michigan in athletics and academics. The VMG mission aligns with Phil’s desire to give back to the University of Michigan while helping it achieve at the highest level with great integrity. Phil and Les were roommates at Michigan.
Les Winograd - Advisor & Investor
Les Winograd brings VMG over 30 years of industry and consulting experience in the fields of technology, marketing, and operations. Currently serving as COO of Bounteous, a leading digital experience consultancy and partner of VMG, Les has helped some of the world’s most ambitious brands achieve transformative results through the innovative application of technology to solve business challenges.
Les was recruited into Bounteous in 2013 to help bolster its operations and client service capabilities to enable its ambitious corporate growth strategy. At the time, the company employed less than 50 people. Bounteous now boasts over 1,500 team members across the globe, partnering with such brands as Domino’s, Shake Shack, Coca-Cola, Mars, Caesars Entertainment, and Wilson.
Prior to joining Bounteous, Les held a variety of leadership positions over a 12-year career for Ally’s North American Operations. Les was responsible for developing and executing Ally’s first B2C and CRM strategic plans in the early 2000s and was the lead Ally IT Executive responsible for maintaining alignment with General Motors in the areas of Dealer and Consumer systems. Les’s final position at Ally was that of Global eCommerce Executive where he was responsible for eCommerce applications across all Business Units and geographies. Les also enjoyed a 12-year career with Accenture after graduating with High Distinction from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1987.
Les is deeply passionate about, and committed to, not only the Wolverines’ athletic success, but also leaving a legacy of support that ensures Michigan maintains our status as the Leaders and Best for future generations. This commitment is directly aligned with VMG’s mission and is articulated in the feature story of Les and his brother Randy on the front page of support.mgoblue.com.
Randy Winograd - Advisor & Investor
Randy Winograd brings VMG over 25 years of experience in the fields of law, finance, operational management, marketing and public relations.
Currently he is President of Beverly Hills-based Nimes Real Estate (“NRE”), an institutional-caliber investment firm housed within the Nazarian family office. Randy has overseen investment underwriting, deal structuring, and management of NRE’s historic portfolio of ~$1 billion in assets while also leading NRE’s internal team. He also serves as Chief Operating Officer of Nazarian Enterprises and Nimes Capital, where he is responsible for oversight of the operations of the Nazarian family’s vast private equity investment business and related legal matters.
Randy began his tenure with the Nazarian family of companies at SBE Entertainment Group (“sbe”) serving as President, founding CFO and General Counsel. At sbe, he was instrumental in managing the growth of the company from a nascent venture into a hospitality branding and development powerhouse and played a key role in the strategy, structuring, execution and oversight of more than $2 billion in hotel, restaurant and nightclub acquisitions and development projects.
Before joining sbe, Randy was COO, CFO and General Counsel of a prominent production company focused on the creation of advertising and motion picture content that generated in excess of $150 million in annual revenue. In this capacity, Mr. Winograd was responsible for all business, legal and corporate operational affairs, including: corporate strategy, negotiation and structuring of strategic partnerships, intellectual property licensing and clearances, human resources, and real estate.
Randy is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, is a past Director of the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans and was previously on the Board of Directors of Film L.A., Inc..
Randy is an unapologetically loud and proud Michigan Wolverine, having been reared in a family of passionate Michigan graduates and then earning his BBA (1991) and JD (1994) from Michigan. While at Michigan, Randy volunteered for over six years in the University of Michigan Athletic Department’s Media Relations Department, assisting with the Michigan Football and Men’s Basketball teams.
University of Michigan Student Interns
We provide opportunities for, and are supported by, a group of dedicated interns. Our current roster includes these future University of Michigan graduates:
- Morgan Banta, Class of 2024
- Kara Burke, Class of 2022
- Kelsey Burke, Class of 2022
- Sophia Ferrigno, Class of 2025
- Eric Halpern, Class of 2022
- Phillip Meyers, Class of 2024
- Elizabeth Murphy, Class of 2023
- Greg Tarr, Class of 2024
- Eli Yarmy, Class of 2023