Gap Inc. invests 1 million dollars in in Allyson Felix’s Saysh footwear brand 'Saysh'
San Francisco (California) [US], June 19: Gap Inc and Athleta have invested 1 million dollars in Saysh, a footwear branded founded by Olympic medallist Allyson Felix and brother Wes Felix.
Pic Courtesy: Saysh Official
Felix reportedly was unable to find the perfect sneaker whilst preparing for the Tokyo Olympics last year, prompting her to set up Saysh, a shoe brand by women, for women, focused on community building.
In a Series A funding round the company secured 8 million dollars in investment. Felix previously collaborated with Athleta when she was contracted as the brand’s first athlete partner in 2019. At the time Felix ended a partnership with Nike, calling out the sporting giant for not being supportive of new mothers in an op-ed in the New York Times.
As part of the investment, Gap Inc. has taken a 2 percent equity stake in Saysh, according to a company spokeswoman. In addition, Athleta, a 220-unit operation, has a partnership to sell Saysh footwear via its site.
Saysh will use the investment to focus on its e-commerce, wholesale distribution and community-based retail, reported WWD, in addition to expanding its product categories and launch activity-specific sneaker styles.
Felix parted ways with her former sponsor Nike several years ago and published a New York Times op-ed in 2019 that called out the activewear giant for not being supportive of new mothers. In competition and through her own business, Felix, who has two children, is committed to supporting women and their families.
Last year Felix and Athleta also joined forces to kick off “The Power of She Fund: Child Care Grants.” That initiative earmarked $200,000 to help professional female athletes with children finance their travels for competitions. Six mothers, who competed in the Tokyo Summer Olympics, were among the beneficiaries of that monetary commitment. During those Summer Games, Felix, who is now the most decorated U.S. Olympic track athlete, wore Athleta apparel and Saysh spikes.
Saysh was started by Felix with her brother Wes, who serves as chief executive officer. The company will use the funding to amp up its branded e-commerce, wholesale distribution and community-based retail — an area that the founders are looking to build up. The $8 million investment will also be used to expand its product range and to introduce activity-specific sneaker styles.
Springbank Collective was an additional early-stage investor that recruited a group of angel investors through a Special Purpose Vehicle, according to information provided by Saysh. The New York Road Runners Club’s CEO Kerin Hempel, The Black Doula’s Sabia Wade and gender and policy expert Anne-Marie Slaughter were participants. Felix shares the collective’s mission to support working women and their families.
Athelta’s investment was brokered by Gap’s Strategic Growth Office, the unit that is on the lookout for opportunities to increase growth and fast-track capabilities across its portfolio of brands.
Venture capital firm Redpoint has previously invested in Netflix, Sonos and other companies.