This British brand of trail running shoes and other performance footwear signed a deal last May for an equity increase funded by a U.K. low-cap private equity company, Isis Equity Partners, to help support its strong growth at home and abroad, its expansion into new markets and further product development. The fund's investment of £12 million (€15.4m-$18.9m) gave it a minority stake in thenine-year-old company behind the Inov-8 brand, which is called Inoveight.
Company officials declined to disclose the company's turnover, but said that it grew by 130 percent on a global basis in its last financial year and that it is expected to increase by a further 50 percent this year.
The inov-8 brand stands for a line of on- and off-road running and fitness shoes, which are made by a Chinese production partner. The company sells its products in 58 countries, with a particular focus on the U.S., the U.K. and Europe. Inoveight has an international team of 44 employees. Seventeen new staff members were added last year.
Mark Advani and Adam Holloway from Isis are to join Inoveight's board of directors. Both previously held board seats at a big cycling e-tailer Wiggle, which also got an investment from Isis, and led the deal for Inov-8.
Eoin Treacy joined Inoveight last February as its new marketing manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the previous seven years, Treacy worked as Asics' marketing manager for the U.K. and Ireland. James Hugson recently joined the team as new product manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He previously worked for Gelert, Animal and Berghaus.
Inov-8 experienced an especially strong increase lately in its sales in the U.S., where it has manages a sales office since 2005. In the last two years, sales there rose by over 300 percent, causing them account for 60 percent of the company's total sales.
Inoveigh employs 25 people in the U.S. office. In order to guide the company's continued rapid sales growth in the U.S., Matthew Strzempko was hired as vice president of sales last month. He will be responsible for choosing the right retail partners and managing product training and sales support.
Strzempko has over 20 years of experience in leading sales and marketing teams. In recent years, he worked for All Terrain, Dermatone, National Geographic and Nielsen. Previously, he ran the multi-sport sales agency TWM, representing brands such as Powerbar, Timex and Scott.
As a tribute to the company's successful development, his founder, Wayne Edy, has won the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in the category “Consumer Products and Services 2012” for the northern region of the U.K. The award is given by Ernst & Young in recognition of excellence and extraordinary success in a number of areas including innovation, strategy, financial performance and social responsibility.
Edy started the footwear company in 2003, selling minimalist off-road shoes from the back of his car at trail and fell races. He has since raised the company to make it a leading technical off-trail running brand at the international level.