Class VI Partners (“Class VI”) is pleased to announce that Topo Designs (“Topo” or the “Company”) has received a significant equity investment from Gart Capital Partners (“Gart”). The growth equity investment is the first time the Company has received outside funding since its founding in 2008 and Class VI served as the exclusive financial advisor to Topo. The undisclosed sum will be used to build brand awareness and expand customer acquisition programs under the brand’s mission of The New Outdoor™, inspiring more people to get outside by integrating the outdoors seamlessly into life.
“Topo Designs represents an inspirational entrepreneurial success story of following one’s dreams, passion, and vision. Jedd Rose and Mark Hansen started making and selling backpacks out of a basement 14 years ago and have successfully built one of the most unique and inclusive brands in the outdoor, adventure, and travel markets. It was a great honor and privilege to represent Topo Designs and find a partner who will help the Company become a mainstay in the outdoor apparel industry,” said Alex Woolford, Vice President for Class VI Partners.
Jedd Rose, co-founder and president of Topo Designs, added, “When we initially approached Class VI, we presented a unique set of goals and requirements as this was our first investment round for the Company. They were able to educate us on the process, become intimately familiar with our Company and brand, and ultimately find us the perfect partner that met all our initial goals. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner and outcome.”
Founded in Denver, Colorado by Jedd Rose and Mark Hansen, Topo Designs is an outdoor brand providing sustainable, durable apparel and accessories. Topo was founded with the fundamental belief that everyone experiences the outdoors differently. They want to get everyone outside without feeling encumbered by the traditional notions that hold them back.” The Company has coined this mission The New OutdoorTM, which inspires more people to get outside by integrating the outdoors seamlessly into life. It’s an inclusive place that allows everyone, regardless of their background, to be both the outsider and the insider, the novice and the pro.
Since its inception, the Company has grown sales to over 30 countries across six continents with wholesale distribution to 1,200 stores, including specialty outdoor and independent lifestyle shops and leading retailers, like REI, Backcountry, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Moosejaw, Bespoke, and Zappos. The Company’s products and The New Outdoor™ have seen growing relevance with its core audience, largely comprising young Millennials and a growing Gen Z set. Topo’s target customers are values-driven and seek out products that avoid limits to function, individuality, creativity, and style. These customers carefully consider their closet space and environmental footprint, investing in quality pieces built from durable, sustainable materials. They also value aesthetics and are drawn to Topo for the brand’s fusion of modern design and classic silhouettes that results in approachable, utilitarian apparel and accessories fit for the outdoors, travel, and daily routines.
This capital infusion comes as the Company sets sight on a revised five-year growth strategy. In 2022, Topo’s total revenue grew over 30 percent, and the Company is projecting strong double-digit growth in 2023. To drive this aggressive growth plan, Topo spent recent years investing in key leadership hires, including Matt Williams, who joined as Chief Operating Officer from Exxel Outdoors; Rachelle Thurik, Director of Marketing, formerly from Nike Inc.; Sean Han, who joined as Director of Sales from Spyder; and Christy Bailey, Director of Product overseeing sustainable design innovation, formerly with Pact Apparel.
“When presented with the prospect of working with Topo Designs, we at Class VI were ecstatic as we were already very big fans of the brand and mission. That fandom was only solidified through our work with Mark Hansen and Jedd Rose who are both very talented entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the outdoor industry. We are honored to have represented Topo with its first institutional capital partner and are excited for the Company’s next phase of growth.” said Zack Gibson, Managing Director for Class VI.
Gart Capital Partners (GCP) is a private equity investment partnership located in Denver, Colorado. GCP is focused on lower middle market consumer and service-oriented investment opportunities. The firm is a division of The Gart Companies, a family investment office with diversified holdings. Since inception, The Gart Companies have executed over 100 site-level acquisitions and have opened over 200 new store locations across eight platforms, including Gart Brothers Sporting Goods Company, Specialty Sports Ventures, Running Specialty Group, Bag N Baggage, GolfTEC and Work World.
The transaction closed on March 1st, 2023. Colburn & Colburn LLP served as legal counsel to Topo, and Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP served as legal counsel to Gart.
About Class VI Partners
Class VI provides middle-market investment banking services, including mergers and acquisitions advisory, corporate advisory, business valuation, and private capital raising services through its affiliate, Class VI Securities, LLC and Member FINRA. Class VI is also affiliated with and offers wealth management services through Class VI Family Office, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Jedd Rose is a client of Class VI Partners and is not being compensated for sharing his opinion and experience with the firm. Any compensation creates a conflict of interest. Comments by Jedd Rose may not be representative of any other person’s experience with the firm and are no guarantee of future performance or success.
Investment advisory services offered through Class VI Partners’ affiliate Class VI Family Office, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission. Class VI Partners offers investment banking and private securities transactions through its affiliate, Class VI Securities, LLC. Class VI Securities, LLC is a registered broker/dealer and member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Class VI Pathfinder, LLC provides general business consulting to privately held businesses.
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