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Startup moves forward with plan to sell stock in 49er Vernon Davis

A startup trying to sell stock in star athletes is now hoping 49ers tight end Vernon Davis will prove the concept is a winner.

The company has created stock that allows the general public to invest in Davis.

Documents filed Thursday by San Francisco-based Fantex Inc. proposed selling 421,000 shares at $10 apiece to investors who want a piece of Davis’ future earnings.

“Our philosophy is to work with people who we believe have interesting brand attributes that we can work with and they can work with us,” said Fantex co-founder and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Buck French, who got rich during the dot-com boom after selling a software company to Siebel Systems. “You don’t have to be a superstar. I could see us working with big names and no names. The question is do they have attributes to build a brand for the long haul.”

The initial public offering funds will be used to pay Davis a $4 million fee in exchange for a 10 percent cut of his future earnings, which includes his playing contract, endorsements and income after he retires from professional football.

The 29-year-old Davis could be paid up to $16.9 million on the remainder of his current contract with the 49ers.

In 2010, the tight end signed a five-year deal with the 49ers in which $23 million is guaranteed. Davis is in his eighth NFL season.

His endorsements include Force Factor sports supplements and Krave beef jerky.

The deal was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Fantex also filed plans last month to sell stock in Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. That deal was called off after Foster suffered a season-ending injury.

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