Nobull, an athletic apparel and footwear maker with a cult following in the CrossFit community, has completed another round of funding with a valuation north of$ 500 million, CNBC has learned.
Co-founders Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer told CNBC that Nobull has seen explosive growth during the Covid Pandemic, as consumers have put money on work clothes or going out on hold, but are still in the market for workout gear to either lounge in or use for their at-home fitness routines. That same demand has helped Nike, Under Armour, Lululemon and Adidas likes.
However, the health crisis has also caused supply chain constraints and led to the merchandise being out of stock. Nobull said it plans to use fresh financing to replenish inventories.
The Boston-based Nobull is best known for its training gear: items such as sleeveless shorts, lightweight and sweat-wicking tops and training shoes. It makes a special pair of sneakers just for lifting that will set you back about$ 300. It debuted more recently into selling items for other sports and activities, including running, and it ventured into selling a$ 80 cycling cleat last year.
Its women's business currently outpaces its men's thanks to a growing list of female athletes serving as Nobull brand ambassadors, including CrossFit Games athlete Tia-Clair Toomey and professional weightlifter Ivan Arnoor.
Wilson and Schaeffer are both lifelong athletes and members of the CrossFit community.
It was kind of a no-brainer, Schaeffer said about how Nobull reached the world of CrossFit about six years ago. We have both loved CrossFit; we love the community and that's organically what we wanted. This call is paying off; last month, CrossFit announced that Nobull would become the title sponsor of its CrossFit Games, which kick off again this summer.
The brand will also serve as official footwear and apparel sponsor for the CrossFit community. The partnership is expected to run for at least three years. Wilson explained that we are not a CrossFit brand, but crossfit is a sport and a form of training for people who train hard and do n't believe in excuses. So there are really great synergies within CrossFit.
Once it has catches up to the demand it is seeing in the United States, Nobull's next ambitions include expanding overseas. Wilson said that we have a high global awareness, so the other thing that we 're doing is building out our capability to distribute products around the world. We want to eliminate the barriers to entry in those markets for customers who already demand products.
It continues to sell mainly online; it has three stores in the U.S. in New York City- Boston and the SoHo neighborhood of Miami, which are still temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
It aims to open more departments in the coming years, with no plans to come into wholesale channels such as department stores. We 've been very creative when it comes to product launches. Wilson said that we 've just been super flexible, and this is where not having wholesale makes it a lot easier, he said.
According to Pitchbook, Nobull has raised$ 32 million to date.