Ones to Watch | Fall 2018
BY Matt Kaden | Managing Director | MMG Advisors
This San Francisco-based women’s footwear brand running in the circular economy is certainly one to watch. Rothy’s makes machine-washable shoes out of recycled plastic water bottles featuring 3D knit technology that has its Silicon Valley neighbors drinking the Kool-Aid.
It helps that co-founders Stephen Hawthornthwaite (former technology/e-commerce investment banker) and Roth Martin (former design gallery owner) flawlessly combine art and science to create a differentiated product company that has been profitable since its 2015 launch. Rothy’s has raised $5 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners and $2 million in convertible notes from Finn Capital Partners, M13 and Grace Beauty Capital.
BABOON describes itself simply as “an adventure brand” and feels like it may very well hit the moon (website is www.baboontothemoon.com). Its launch product the Go-Bag — a versatile, technical and radical duffel bag in bright colors with bold interior prints — is quintessentially millennial and super “Instagrammable” (reached nearly 10K followers in a month).
But what impresses us most about this startup is its founding team — Andy Person, Trey Sisson, and Michael Kushner. Andy (Co-Founder and CEO) was formerly COO/CFO of Opening Ceremony and held leadership roles at Urban Outfitters and The North Face/VF Corp before that. Trey (COO) and Michael (CCO) previously co-founded Stefan’s Head, an SMS-based e-commerce app that came out of Tech Stars’ Winter Class of 2015. BABOON raised a significant amount of capital pre-revenue from an undisclosed investor pool.
Led by three dynamic female co-founders, AYR is definitely one to watch. Maggie Winter (CEO) and Max Bonbrest (VP of PR and Brand Marketing) met as undergrads at University of Michigan. Maggie and Jac Cameron (Creative Director) met as colleagues at Madewell. Best known for its denim, the inseparable trio is creating seasonless apparel designed to be worn All Year Round by strong, smart women. Spun out of Bonobos, AYR has raised in excess of $5M from firms including Dutch LLC (Current/Elliott, Joie, Equipment), Outbound Ventures and Alrai Capital.
Kaden has nearly 20 years of executive and strategic advisory expertise in the fashion and retail industries and is particularly adept at navigating the confluence of fashion and technology. Before joining MMG, Kaden co-founded Matter Strategic Advisors, focusing of growth and exit strategies for client companies, while facilitating strategic partnerships. Kaden is an advisor at The Lead, a member of The Expert Network of New York Fashion Tech Lab, and a mentor for both XRC Labs and The Ember Company. Additionally, Matt has been published in WWD, featured on the Fashion is Your Business Podcast and is a regular contributor to several industry trade publications.