NEW YORK, November 11, 2016 – HICKIES, Corp., the company responsible for creating the next generation of shoelaces, has raised $10 million in new funding from multiple strategic investors including i) the Wizard Martins family, controlling shareholders of Sforza Holding, a company that manages family investments and businesses including brands Topper Brazil and Rainha, two of the largest Latin America footwear and sporting goods brands, ii) one of the top 3 global footwear brands, and iii) Endeavor Catalyst, the rules-based co-investment fund that supports Endeavor, the world's leading high-impact entrepreneur organization.
HICKIES has seen explosive growth since its modular lacing system hit the market in 2012. This round increases the company’s total funding to almost $16 million. Use of proceeds will include development and launch of new products, expansion into new international markets, and exciting brand collaborations.
The company is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, and has grown to include direct operations in all of Europe’s key markets and distribution in over 40 countries. In 2017, HICKIES plans to open distribution in Brazil through its new partners at Topper Brazil and Rainha.
“We are excited to enter Brazil in 2017, and we expect that Brazil will become one of our biggest markets, based on its size, our new partner’s capabilities and the huge success we had in Argentina with Topper,” said Gaston Frydlewski, Co-Founder and CEO of HICKIES.
HICKIES also operates its website hickies.com in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, and multiple marketplaces, all with local fulfillment capabilities. Since its inception, HICKIES has shipped over two million packs of its lacing system and holds nearly 50 patents worldwide.
“This investment marks the beginning of a new chapter in the HICKIES story and it is amazing to reflect on how far we’ve come in such a short period of time. What started as an idea and grew into a Kickstarter project, is now a global trend. We look forward to building on this momentum with our partners both globally and in Brazil” Mariquel Waingarten, Co-Founder & CMO of HICKIES.
“Thanks to this strategic investment we are now well positioned to redefine the way people wear their sneakers,” Gaston Frydlewski, Co-Founder & CEO of HICKIES.
The Company has also just launched the new version of its Lacing System with two new models: HICKIES 2.0 and HICKIES Kids. The new products integrate four years of research and customer feedback, with HICKIES 2.0 featuring an adaptive fit tailored to high performance athletes and HICKIES Kids introducing a new material and shape specially engineered for children.
HICKIES, Corp. is a New York-based global company that is bending the rules of footwear by re-inventing shoelaces and replacing them with an adaptive modular lacing system designed for an active lifestyle.
The company was founded by Gaston Frydlewski and Mariquel Waingarten, a young married entrepreneur couple from Argentina that moved to New York to launch the company.
Peter Mahrer and Ralf Puschmann, two veterans of the sporting goods industry, are part of the company’s senior management team. Mahrer serves as the Chief Business Development Officer and Puschmann serves as General Manager for HICKIES Europe. Most recently Mahrer served as the European president of Under Armour and Puschmann as the Director of Sales Operation and Supply Chain International at Puma.
Joanna Rees has also extended her term as a member of the HICKIES Board of Directors. Rees has served on the board of more than 25 venture-backed companies across a broad range of industries. She was a candidate for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011. Rees is Managing Director of Soda Rock Partners and has served on the Board of the National Venture Capital Association.
WHAT ARE HICKIES®?
The HICKIES Lacing System is a better way to lace your shoes. It is founded on a beautifully-simple design that makes any shoes look, feel and fit better. It is also a modular lacing system, meaning each HICKIES strap expands and contracts independently, responding to your foot’s every movement and providing for an adaptive fit. Individual straps (one per pair of eyelets) working in tandem make the HICKIES Lacing System unique and a significant evolution from regular shoelaces.
The HICKIES Lacing System is made from a proprietary high-performance elastomer blend that is both flexible and strong, giving your feet’s muscles freedom to move while keeping a secure durable grip.