His first entrepreneurial enterprise came just before seventh grade, when he and his friends at Rollingwood Elementary learned the coach of their soccer team, the Chevy Chase Chargers, was moving back to California and the squad would be disbanded.
“No one would pick up the mantle of keeping the team alive,” Ein recalled. “We were about to start seventh grade, and I said, ‘There is no way I’m letting this thing die!’ ”
So Ein took on all front-office duties. He found a new coach, reserved practice fields and coordinated the paperwork with players’ parents to keep the Chargers going.
That spirit informs Ein’s professional life today. He has promoted his Kastles’ streak as closing in on that of the Wilt Chamberlain-era Lakers not with a wink and a nod but in earnest. “To me,” Ein said, “it is, in many ways, more similar to than it is different than the Lakers.”
To that end, Ein has financed a 25-minute documentary, “Courting History: The Winning Streak of the Washington Kastles,” that chronicles the seriousness with which his team approaches its matches and the teamwork behind its success. The film opens with archival footage of the 1971-72 Lakers to set the stage.
“It’s great for the league,” King said of the Kastles’ streak. “It’s getting us a lot of mileage we wouldn’t get.”
‘An anchor’ in D.C.
The son of an allergist, Ein was 4 when his family moved from New York to the Washington area. He graduated from Penn’s Wharton School with a degree in economics, worked for Goldman Sachs in New York for three years, followed by a stint with a West Coast venture capital firm. After Harvard Business School, he returned to Washington in 1992 to work for the Carlyle Group. In 1999, he set out on his own.
It’s difficult to gauge Ein’s personal wealth, which he prefers to keep private. But as an investor and entrepreneur, he has played a role in founding, acquiring or backing five companies worth more than $1 billion, according to his official biography.
He acquired Kastle Systems, a leading provider of office-building security, for which the WTT team is named, in 2007.
He briefly considered joining Chevy Chase native Josh Harris, a longtime friend, in his bid to buy the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers but decided against it, preferring to invest in Washington.
Only after attending his first WTT match did it pique his interest. He arranged a meeting with King during the 2007 U.S. Open. And after studying the business model and reflecting on Washington’s summertime offerings, he went forward.
“It entered my mind like an entrepreneurial spark,” Ein said. “I thought I could use it as an anchor, to create a center of fun activities in Washington.”
From the outset, Ein envisioned staging the Kastles’ home matches downtown. The team first played in 2008 in a temporary stadium at the former site of Washington’s convention center. In 2011 it moved to the 2,700-seat Kastles Stadiuim in Southwest Washington.