Norwest Backs Former Vibram CEO As He Steps Forward With New Startup

Tony Post, the guy behind the minimalist shoe effort and former president and CEO of Vibram, has launched Topo Athletic, an atheltic gear company. The company is backed by Norwest Venture Partners, which invested $5 million in a Series A round. Post, who previously created the Vibram FiveFinger shoes that runners and non-athletes wear, says he will debut Topo’s new athletic wear at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City on Jan. 23, 2013.

PRESS RELEASE

Former CEO of Vibram USA Launches New Company: Topo Athletic

Footwear industry icon and a pioneer in the minimalist movement, Tony Post raises $5 million in Series A funding from Norwest Venture Partners to launch athletic gear brand

BOSTON – Dec. 12, 2012 – Tony Post, former president and CEO of Vibram USA, announced today the formation of Topo Athletic, a brand based on the unique belief that products should innately amplify, not modify, the body’s natural biomechanics. The company launches with $5 million in series A funding from Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), a multi-stage investment firm based in Silicon Valley.

Post’s new company marks the latest chapter in his ongoing quest to develop innovative products that help athletes become better, faster and stronger. In 2006, Post launched the Vibram FiveFingers® brand in the United States, which catapulted Vibram USA and minimalist footwear into the limelight – forever changing the way consumers think about the synergy between shoe, foot and movement. As a result, lightweight running is now the biggest driver of growth in the athletic footwear market, earning $1.5 billion this year with 50 percent expected growth in 2013, according to SportsOneSource.

“Topo Athletic addresses a key opportunity in the athletic gear industry and is primed for success with Tony Post at the helm,” said Jon Kossow, general partner at NVP. “It’s been impressive watching Tony blaze every brand trail he treks, from Rockport to Vibram; so when he came to us with his concept, our entire firm jumped at the chance to support Topo Athletic.”

Post’s new concept sits at the epicenter of cutting-edge performance technology that helps athletes optimize their training to tackle more aggressive goals.

“Our vision is becoming a reality because of Norwest Venture Partners,” said Tony Post, CEO and founder of Topo Athletic. “We opted to partner with NVP because of the people – they ask the right questions, champion our mission, and provide important business support while allowing us to maintain our independence. We ultimately chose each other.”

Topo’s target audience is athletes who value simplicity, functional design and technology where it counts. “We approach product design with humble innovation – we’re not arrogant enough to think that our products will change an athlete’s performance,” Post said. “Only his or her drive to succeed can do that. Our role is to help them get there.”

The company will debut its product line at the Outdoor Retailer winter market tradeshow in Salt Lake City on Jan. 23, 2013.

About Topo Athletic
Topo Athletic is an athletic gear company created for and by athletes. Topo products are built with humble innovation, an acknowledgement that the most impressive thing that will ever go into our products is the athlete. We are committed to the ongoing study of physiology, environments and emerging technologies that enable athletes to constantly improve by amplifying the superb design of the human body. Topo Athletic was founded in 2012 and is based in Newton, Mass. For more information, please visit www.topoathletic.com.

About Norwest Venture Partners
Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a multi-stage investment firm that has partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for more than 50 years. The firm manages more than $3.7 billion in capital and has funded over 500 companies since inception. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., NVP has subsidiaries in Mumbai and Bengaluru, India and Herzelia, Israel. NVP makes early- to late-stage venture and growth equity investments across a wide range of sectors including: technology, information services, business services, financial services, consumer products/services and healthcare. For more information visit: www.nvp.com.

 

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