Brentwood Associates has invested nearly $50 million in Saxx, the Vancouver-based men’s underwear line.
According to Tim Bartels, Saxx’s chief executive officer, the company, with help from investment banking firm Lazard Middle Market, started looking for investors about nine months ago.
“For us it was about finding the right partner. It wasn’t about the equity raised,” said Bartels. “It was about finding someone who has had a track record of partnering with brands and helping them accelerate their growth and they [Brentwood] were the best fit given their track record.”
Saxx is the ninth investment by Brentwood Associates’ latest fund, Brentwood Associates Private Equity V, L.P., which has also invested in Allen Edmonds, Ariat International, Filson, J.McLaughlin, Soft Surroundings and Sundance Catalog.
“Saxx fits perfectly with our strategy of investing in growing lifestyle brands that foster consistently high customer loyalty, while delivering strong profitable growth,” said Eric Reiter, partner at Brentwood. “We will continue to support the company in such areas as product innovation, targeted print and digital marketing, and operational excellence across its global distribution and fulfillment platform.”
Bartels, who previously worked for Columbia Sportswear, Keen, DC Shoes and Nike, said the investment will be used to grow Saxx’s product offering to categories such as socks, expand international distribution, promote product innovation and improve e-commerce operations. Introducing women’s is also on his radar.
Saxx, which is sold at retailers including Nordstrom along with active stores, intimate apparel shops and contemporary men’s wear boutiques, produces underwear, T-shirts and other base layers that cater to an active customer. The brand was founded by former baseball player Trent Kitsch in 2006 and offers internal mesh panels in the underwear.
In 2010 the company was acquired by a group of private investors, who are still the majority shareholders.