Direct-to-consumer swimwear brand Summersalt has closed on a $2 million seed round led by Dundee Venture Capital.
Also participating in the round are Breakout Capital, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Cultivation Capital, Victress Capital, M25, The Syndicate Fund and Silas Capital. The swimwear firm’s aggregate raise to date is $2.6 million. An investor in the start-up’s earlier seed round includes Ron Fromm, former president and chief executive officer of Caleres, formerly The Brown Shoe Co.
Lori Coulter and Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin founded the swimwear brand, which launched in May 2017. Coulter is president and ceo, while Chamberlin is chief digital and brand officer.
Elizabeth Engel, partner at Dundee, said, “Summersalt’s refreshing, thoughtful, adventurous approach to owning the direct-to-consumer market is what made this opportunity so appealing. We’re thrilled to be a part of their trajectory.”
The venture capitalist added that the “deep industry expertise and digital marketing talent [of the cofounders] got us excited about the chance to become partners.” Coulter has 10-plus years in swimwear design for top retailers and resorts, while Chamberlin has 10-plus years in brand building and digital marketing.
Summersalt sells online primarily to Millennials. “In a category that tends to favor sexualized imagery and steep price points, we’re disrupting with travel-centric content featuring real women [and price points] at $95 and below, making designer swimwear accessible to all women,” Coulter said.
According to Coulter, the $13.5 billion swimwear industry is expected to grow to $20 billion in 2020. She said “swimwear is ripe for disruption,” when asked about the extent of venture capital interest. Coulter attributes that to the structure of the industry. Because most of the product in the marketplace is licensed, that translates to multiple middlemen in the supply chain.
Chamberlin said, “By cutting out the middlemen and with supply chain at warp speed, we’re able to deliver designer quality at an affordable price with functionality and performance in every product.” She added that the fit was based on more than 10,000 body scans of real women and 1.5 million measurements.
The product is made from sustainable materials, a combination of 78 percent recycled polyamide and 22 percent extra life Lycra. Coulter said the material is five-times stronger than what most firms use, with four-times the compression and it has UPF 50+ built into the suits.