Welcome to Startups Insider for March 18, 2022 – FREE Edition.
We analyze deals across AngelList, Republic, WeFunder, and more.
Today, we’re talking about Adv3nture, the innovative outdoor clothing brand committed to encouraging personal growth through exploration and adventure.
Adv3nture’s mission is “to make meaningful products that inspire meaningful lives”, and they’re looking to raise $535k on StartEngine. With 12 days left to go on this offering, we’re bringing you some in-depth research and analysis to help you decide if this is a good opportunity.
But before that…
If you like our Newsletter, you should definitely check out our Podcast. In this episode, Horacio invites Ali Moiz to talk about roadblocks, taking chances, and going against his instincts on his journey as a young entrepreneur and investor.
Ali is the co-founder and CEO of Stonks – a platform for founders to pitch companies to accredited investors and venture capital funds. Imagine if Twitch, AngelList, and Shark Tank had a baby 👶
The size of the market
The pandemic deprived people of most forms of indoor socializing for quite a while. Naturally, everyone flocked to outdoor activities, rural areas, and private vacation rentals.
In 2020, 160 million people participated in at least one outdoor activity, up from 150 million in 2018.
Outdoor activities require the appropriate attire. Prior to 2020, the outdoor apparel industry was valued at $17M; $54M in 2021; and projected to have $4 billion growth by 2024, with a CAGR of 5%.
Outdoor apparel brands had already seen massive popularity rise over the last several decades, despite often starting out by targeting the (presumably smaller) outdoor demographic of hikers, climbers, explorers.
But the marriage of several factors has lead to these brands becoming even more popular:
- the higher price tag, signalling higher class
- the higher manufacturing quality required to withstand harsher weather conditions
- an emphasis on sustainability; and recently,
- incorporation of innovative materials (i.e., sweat-wicking)
- and, of course, the pandemic urging people to look for alternative hobbies and ways of socializing
So outdoor brands aren’t solely reliant on outdoor activities for their success. There’s potential for crossover, mainstream, “gorpcore” status.
It has to be considered that the “active lifestyle” space is also known for lucrative mergers & acquisitions.
The opportunity here is either the brand has runaway success, or it gets acquired: 8/10
Adv3nture’s founder, Zane Lamprey, is a travel show host. He’s hosted shows on various networks documenting his travels all over the world. As someone who had to travel a lot, he noticed that packing (and flying) for all weather was a huge PITA.
He also couldn’t find a brand that directly catered to travellers – a backpack suitable for a flight is too heavy for a walk, a jacket for one type of weather is too much for another… And of course, everything quickly takes up the scarce carry-on space.
There is also the waste and recycling problem – people in the U.S. throw away more than 60 million plastic water bottles a day and the fast fashion model still dominates the American marketplace. There are still very few brands that are able to address this.
The bulkiness problem of outdoor wear is niche, but for those it affects, it’s a biggie: 5/10
To address this, Zane designed Adv3nture’s product line with travel in mind.
The jacket and backpack are loaded with pockets and features, such as rolling up into a travel pillow. These feature-loaded products are likely to appeal to a wider audience, from outdoorsy types to frequent flyers:
The backpack is large enough to fit two coolers but can disassemble into a smaller pack for general use.
Another cool angle to the product mission: Adv3nture hope to address plastic waste and deforestation and actively encourage ecological mindfulness through their branding. The ‘3’ in the name and the logo of Adv3nture actually refers to the 3 trees Adv3nture plants for every sale they make. The brand has an ESG triple-bottom-line as well.
They’re also hitting the recycling talking points: Adv3nture addresses this by making their jackets from recycled water bottles, which has the added benefit of making them naturally waterproof.
Check out his Kickstarter promo video that does a good explainer of the mission and vision for the company:
Travelers are quite a niche market with niche problems, and Adv3nture has shown that they are riches in niches. The execution is a solid 8/10.
Adv3nture’s model is currently a mix of eCommerce and retail; they have a brick-and-mortar location in Seattle that doubles as a warehouse.
For Adv3nture, retail is not dead – their Seattle location drove nearly a quarter of 2021 sales. They haven’t released financials for 2021 yet.
Their largest expense is marketing, but where they cut costs are supply chains:
As opposed to apparel brands that mass produce items only for them to get wasted, Adv3nture is limiting the number of items it has manufactured and sold.
The problem with this strategy is that things run out, leaving investors and customers unhappy. In other words, they’re overmarketing for their quantity.
The business model is a 6/10. They’re one of the first brands employing the retail store-as-warehouse model, and they could pioneer it. However, they need to significantly tighten up their supply chain.
Adv3nture has a lot of competition.
In line with these other well-established players, Adv3nture has competitive prices, selling their jackets and packs for ~$180.
With outdoor brands, competition never seems to be a problem. There are prosperous outdoor brands in far less-defined niches than Adv3nture. However, there are still too many outdoor brands out there for our comfort.
Competition: 4/10. It’s very tight, very competitive.
He’s been in the media business for the last two decades, hosting highly-acclaimed travel shows on Food Network, Netflix, and National Geographic. Have Fork, Will Travel and Three Sheets have earned him a considerable fan following.
Adv3nture began as a Kickstarter campaign which went on to a record-breaking fundraiser. This was entirely thanks to his fans.
Before that campaign, Zane sold a Drinking Jacket. So apparel has been a feature of his brand for several years.
Melissa has a similar background in TV and media, and is Zane’s partner in all things business and tv show.
In the past, we’ve seen influencers use their fanbases to successfully launch brands, but Zane makes it clear that he started the brand to help himself in his own travels.
Adv3nture’s president, Chad Frerichs, was at the helm of marketing for Essentia Water when the company grew from a $5M to $1B valuation. Essentia is similar to Adv3nture in a sense – saturated marketplace + unique feature (Essentia: ionized water; Adv3nture: travel).
Adv3nture’s director, Garrett Marrero, founded and grew Hawaii’s largest brewery. There were no other breweries in Maui and only a few in Hawaii back when Garrett founded the Maui Brewing Co. Thus, he has experience scaling large ventures he can bring to the table.
At the time of writing, we are not sure if these two executives are still with Adv3nture, as the company’s Linkedin page seems to get updated rather rarely. We did attempt to reach out to confirm.
The team is 7/10, since it’s unclear whether Frerichs or Marrero are still on the team.
Adv3nture began with a record-breaking Kickstarter. Nevertheless, they were in the red until 2020, when they increased their revenue 700% over 2019. This gave them a $100k profit in 2020.
That slim profit doesn’t leave a lot of room for having less revenue, though.
Their 2021 ended strong with the help of the holiday season. But they don’t provide the figures, which suggests they may have lapsed back into the red…
Adv3nture has a devoted fanbase, and they do plenty of rave reviews.
Their apparel features are unique, and Zane’s personal brand certainly helps with advertising.
The brand may have a strong fanbase but its supply chains are rather weak.
Right now, it seems that many of their products are discontinued/out of stock, which likely is eating into their revenue.
Traction is a 5/10 – it’s good, but there are a lot of variables, and supply chain is a biggie.
How to Invest
You can invest in Adv3nture via startengine.com
They are currently offering investment perks (Kickstarter-style), where you can invest as little as $150, but as you go higher, more and more perks become available.
If you want to drop some serious money on this campaign, you have the opportunity to get a private stand-up comedy performance by Zane himself.
Startups We Passed Over
Here’s the shortlist of other opportunities we reviewed before settling on Adv3nture for this week’s write-up:
- Problem: 100K streams on a major streaming platform pays an Artist only $400 and no direct access to fans. 6/10 opportunity.
- Solution: A streaming service that allows artists to retain more equity in their work. 6/10 solution.
- Why we passed: Vocana has a great team, but their description of what they’re planning is too vague to really understand how they will solve this problem. With the number of serial entrepreneurs on the team, I would expect at least an MVP. 4/10 execution.
- Problem: “Antiquated technology, manual processes, and lack of information make global trade more challenging and costly.” This is pretty generic and is frankly too large a problem for a startup to be targeting. Startups are good for niche problems and scale to solving larger ones. 5/10 opportunity.
- Solution: “A DeFi ecosystem for payments and financing leveraging”. 4/10 solution.
- Why we passed: This is one of the poorest explanations of a business model I have seen on WeFunder. Additionally, if the founders come from families in the diamond business, I would expect them to be able to afford to build an MVP. 4/10 execution.
- Problem: Legal weed is expensive, illegal weed is sketchy. Yes, that’s their pitch. 5/10 opportunity.
- Solution: Subscription weed, with a paid community. Yes. 4/10 solution.
- Why we passed: There does not seem to be a moat. 1/10 execution.