Hylete is a fitness lifestyle brand, with a wide assortment of apparel items for men and women. The company is also raising capital through an equity crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine. The minimum investment for Hylete is only $500.
The co-founders of the company include Ron Wilson and Matthew Paulson, who both had high-level positions at companies like Jaco Clothing and Gathering Storm before starting the company. In 2012, they saw an opportunity to develop a better training short for those who were serious about fitness.
The reception was strong and the co-founders quickly moved into other categories like shirts, pants, hoodies, backpacks and cross-training shoes.
Background on the Company
One of the keys to the success of Hylete is its focus on personalization. This is certainly important for fitness requirements. To this end, the company has created a quiz on its website to determine the best fit for its clothing line. For example, there are 14 distinct styles for shorts.
Hylete has also spent much time cultivating an engaged community (there are over 81,000 followers on Instagram and the company’s products have gotten over 51,000 five-star reviews). Because of this, the company has received valuable feedback to improve its products.
Here are just a few of the company’s offerings:
- Incline shorts: This uses a stretch woven fabric that has enough room for the hips and thighs, which means higher impact movement.
- Urban joggers: This item strives for a both warmth and breathability. Some of the features include a drawstring waistband and an internal fleece fabric.
- Altium sports bra: This has an X-strap for better support and comfort but does not grind into a woman’s shoulders.
- Circuit II cross-training shoe: These allows you to choose between three types of insoles.
- Nimbus tights: This is a legging that is meant to complement a person’s hips and legs.
What about the traction for the company? Well, the company has definitely shown strong growth. According to the investor materials, the compound annual growth rate is over 70% and last year’s sales hit $12.6 million. There are more than 300,000 customers and over 30,000 are certified fitness experts, who have provided content on the Hylete blog and social channels.
Bottom Line On Hylete
The equity crowdfunding capital raise has gone quite well. So far, the company has received commitments for more than $734,000 from 974 investors (the valuation has been set at $44.8 million). Yes, it seems that the company’s own community has been essential for this success.
The investment also comes with several perks. That is, there is 50% off all regular-priced products and 10% discounts on clearance locker items. Then there is also free ground shipping for U.S. orders and one Hylete rewards point for each dollar invested.
But of course, as is the situation with any type of private investing deal, there are notable risks with Hylete. First of all, the company has continued to sustain major losses, totaling $16.2 million since inception (as of June 30, 2019).
Next, the apparel market is subject to the fickleness of consumer behavior. This can lead to markdowns on merchandise, which can weigh on margins.
What’s more, the company has taken on much debt – about $6.2 million. So going forward, the company will likely need to raise even more capital to maintain operations and this will mean increased dilution for existing shareholders.
And yes, there is the intense competitive environment. Just some of the rivals include Nike (NYSE:NKE), Under Armour (NYSE:UA,NYSE:UAA), Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU), Rhone, Fabletics, Reebok and Adidas (OTCMKTS:ADDYY).
Thus, before making an investment, it’s important to account for the risks and make sure any allocation fits your diversification requirements.
On the date of publication, Tom Taulli did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is an advisor/board member for startups and author of various books and online courses about technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook and Learn Python Super Fast. He is also the founder of WebIPO, which was one of the first platforms for public offerings during the 1990s.
Investing through equity and real estate crowdfunding or asset tokenization requires a high degree of risk tolerance. Despite what individual companies may promise, there’s always the chance of losing a portion, or the entirety, of your investment. These risks include:
1) Greater chance of failure
2) Risk of fraudulent activity
3) Lack of liquidity
4) Economic downturns
5) Dearth of investor education
Read more: Private Investing Risks
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.