Saysh closes the $ 8 million IRIS-led Series A Athleta

The round is comprised primarily of female-owned and female-led investors to support the brand’s mission to create a fairer future.

THE ANGELS, June 16, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Sayshthe community-centric lifestyle brand co-founded by Olympian Allyson Felix and her brother and business partner Wes Felixannounced today that the Serie A round ended at $ 8 million, led by the specialty consumer fund IRIS and the high-performance lifestyle brand of Gap Inc. Athleta. Additional investors in the round include Redpoint Ventures and Springbank Collective.

Saysh will use the new funding to scale its branded eCommerce, wholesale distribution, and community-based retail footprint, something the founders see as a great growth opportunity. The investment will also support an expanded product offering and the launch of several new business-specific sneakers. Through the brand’s existing platform, they have been able to successfully test different ideas and concepts to move their product portfolio forward.

“This is an exciting next step for the brand and we are so grateful to those partners who see the potential of Saysh to help shape a better future for all of us,” he said. Wes Felix, co-founder and CEO of Saysh. “Saysh, in essence, celebrates women and their voices, and this funding further empowers us to lead in that direction. Now more than ever we are positioned to understand and meet the needs of our customers, delivering more value than ever.”

Defending women on and off the track, Allyson is focusing on Saysh in partnership with company CEO and co-founder Wes. Intentionally created by and for women, the brand’s mission to achieve gender equality was poignantly illustrated by the company’s debut product: the Saysh One, the first women’s athletic sneaker built from the sole up to a woman’s foot. In line with this mission, Saysh was seeking women’s-owned, women’s-led funding for their Serie A round. women are the majority end consumer such as health, wellness, beauty and education.

Athleta, a high-performance lifestyle brand advocating for women, will continue its partnership with Allyson, now as an investor in Saysh. Athleta’s investment was mediated by Gap Inc.’s Strategic Growth Office (SGO), a business unit that seeks opportunities to fuel growth and accelerate new capabilities in its brand portfolio. As part of the investment, Gap Inc. acquired a stake in Saysh and Athleta partnered to showcase the brand’s footwear on Athleta.com.

Allyson and Athleta’s partnership began when she became their first sponsored athlete in 2019. In June 2021, shortly after Saysh’s launch, they teamed up to offer a collection of sportswear, as well as offering an exclusive Rose colorway version of Saysh One on Athleta.com. In the same year, Athleta and Allyson teamed up to launch The Power of She Fund: Child Care Grants, a one-of-a-kind grant program that committed $ 200,000 to help fund childcare costs for professional athlete mothers traveling to competitions, including six who participated in the Tokyo Olympics. During her last few games, the Olympian proudly sported the Athleta and Saysh Spikes apparel to become the most decorated track and field athlete in history.

“When we signed Allison Felix as our first sponsored athlete in 2019, we knew we wanted to do things differently by supporting her as a mom, athlete and supporter, “she said. Mary Beth Laughton, president and chief executive officer, Athleta. “Today we are proud to continue to support Allyson as an entrepreneur, while fueling the growth of the Athleta brand with our investment in Saysh.”

Additionally, Springbank Collective, an early stage investor in infrastructure for working women and their families, has brought together a group of valued angelic investors to support Saysh via a Special Purpose Vehicle. Participants include Anne Marie Slaughteran internationally renowned expert on gender and politics; Kerin Hempel, CEO of New York Road Runners; And You knew Wade, founder of The Black Doula and advocate of Black’s maternal health. A formal consultant to Springbank Collective, Allyson is passionate about their mission for a fairer future.

“Our community is proud to support Allyson,” he said Jen Koss, founding partner of Springbank Collective. “She is a fierce champion of women in her business, in her consulting work with Springbank and on the track.”

The team at Redpoint, an industry venture capitalist that has successfully invested in companies like Netflix and Sonos, is 50% female, also joined the funding round.

A longtime sponsored athlete, Allyson decided to leave a sportswear giant after the company attempted to cut her pay while pregnant with her first child. Being forced to choose between being a mother and a professional athlete gave birth to Saysh, a brand that represents hope, acceptance and the power to create change. Saysh continues to advocate better maternity leave for athletes and working mothers, as well as better access to health care for black mothers.

Saysh’s vision is a future where inequality is undermined by women’s creativity and athleticism. This Series A funding round, as well as their recently announced first of its kind Maternity Return Policyfurther supports this view.

About Saysh:

Saysh is a community-centric lifestyle brand for and by women focused on ethical conscience, aesthetic sensibility and athletic mindset. Saysh is co-founded by Allison Felix, the most decorated Olympian in athletics; And Wes Felix, his brother and business partner. The brand’s debut lifestyle sneaker is the Saysh One. The Saysh Collective is the global community that offers customers early access to product launches and the opportunity to connect with like-minded people through stimulating conversations, energizing workouts and exclusive member benefits. Visit Saysh.com and join us at @bySaysh on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

About IRIS Ventures:

IRIS Ventures is the advisor to IRIS Fund I FCRE, an equity growth fund targeting consumer-centric European and US brands and technology solutions that solve a healthier, happier and more convenient life. IRIS Ventures is featured in Barcelona, London And New York.

Athlete Information:

A certified B Corporation, Athleta is a high-performance lifestyle brand with a mission to empower a community of active women and girls. Athleta’s versatile high-performance lifestyle apparel is designed by women for women with inclusivity at the heart. Founded in 1998, Athleta integrates performance and technical features across its collection to support women throughout their lifestyles, from yoga and training to travel and sleep. In 2016, the company launched Athleta Girl mirroring its signature performance in styles for the next generation. Based in San Francisco, California and a brand of Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Athleta apparel is available in its more than 200 retail stores throughout the United Statesthrough its catalog and on Athleta.com.

About Springbank Collective:

Springbank Collective is an early stage investor in infrastructure that supports all women and families working to bridge the gender gap. We invest in Career, Care and Household Consumer issues. These sectors collectively represent a nearly trillion dollar market opportunity with significant centuries-old favorable winds.

SOURCE Saysh