OAKLAND, Calif., July 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Fast-growing sportswear brand Courtsmith, maker of fashion-forward athletic wear, is the latest high-growth business to join the ICA investment portfolio. The Oakland-based company just closed a $300,000 equity investment from ICA’s Growth Fund.
Part high-tech sportswear maker, part lifestyle brand, Courtsmith is on a mission to fuse form and function by creating athletic wear that appeals to athletes and casual consumers alike. Its collections are designed to look great on the street while helping athletes play better on the court. Founded, by Courtney "Court" Smith, the company first gained recognition with its line of team uniforms and basketball apparel for local youth teams and has been expanding ever since. It will be launching a new women’s collection this fall, along with its first-ever footwear line. Expansion into new sports like football and soccer is on deck too.
ICA first partnered with Courtsmith when the company participated in the Accelerator at ICA, the high-impact business accelerator program for Bay Area companies looking to raise growth capital. Building on years of partnership, Courtsmith is the latest high-growth company to receive funding after completing the program.
"ICA has been there all along the way," said Courtsmith founder, Court Smith. "Entrepreneurs have to have the wide perspective on the business and know how to do everything. Through the mentorship and strategic advising we received in the Accelerator to now receiving this investment, ICA has been an invaluable partner in our trajectory."
In addition to producing high quality apparel, Courtsmith partners with up-and-coming athletes in a shared equity model that enables athletes to build their personal brands while expanding the company’s customer base. Recently, the company has focused heavily on building out its direct-to-consumer channels. Courtsmith has mostly recovered from shipping and manufacturing delays, and a pandemic-related downturn. It has rehired some of the workforce it was forced to cut in 2020 and now employs six employees with a view to tripling its workforce in the next four years.
"Court’s vision, commitment to his business, and mission-alignment are a great fit for the Growth Fund portfolio," said John Gough, Chief Investment Officer at ICA, "We are thrilled to lead this round and excited to see what’s coming for the brand under Court’s leadership," he added.
Before joining ICA’s investment portfolio, Courtsmith participated in the Accelerator at ICA. To date, five Accelerator alumni companies have received growth funds from ICA. What’s more, Courtsmith joins Progeny Coffee, Renewal Mill, Something Better Foods, Don Bugito and Goal Five as the sixth Bay Area company to receive investment just this year, bringing our total deployed to $2.0MM and more than doubling the size of our investment portfolio.
As a nonprofit venture capital Community Development Financial Institution, ICA makes investments that support our mission to accelerate great businesses to close the racial and gender wealth gaps. Court’s commitment to equity has been an integral part of the brand since day one. The company intentionally hires from under-represented populations and works with juvenile re-entry programs in the Bay Area to provide job opportunities to young people looking for work.
ICA’s $300K equity investment is structured as a convertible note and leads Courtsmith’s $575,000 round. Under Smith’s leadership, the company is once again growing fast and will use ICA’s investment to expand its marketing spend, boost apparel manufacturing, and launch its forthcoming shoe line. As part of the investment ICA will take a seat on Courtsmith’s Board of Directors, with ICA Board President, Jack Russi, National Managing Partner at Deloitte, set to take on the position.
"Courtsmith demonstrates the special blend of mission-alignment, brand equity, and strong growth trajectory that ICA looks for in all of its investments," added Chief Investment Officer, Gough. "Good jobs start with good businesses and ICA is thrilled to welcome Courtsmith to our portfolio."
For ICA, the deal is the latest addition to ICA’s Growth Fund. The Growth Fund provides access to growth equity investments of $100,000 to $1,000,000 with a focus on serving entrepreneurs of color and women. Our investment strategy intentionally focuses on racial and gender equity, and supports companies that are committed to our shared mission of wealth creation and distribution to a diverse workforce.