Silicon Valley’s Next Target For Disruption Is Socks

by MR Magazine Staff

A single image from the United Nations General Assembly drew almost as much buzz as discussions about North Korea and climate change: It involved a pair of Chewbacca socks. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s boyish prime minister, donned the Star Wars-themed attire on-stage at various events in New York last month during the UN festivities. The sight of a Wookiee lurking about a world leader’s ankles went viral. Chalk it up as the latest high-profile endorsement for a premium-sock startup that has managed to carve out a small place in popular culture. Stance has become the go-to hosiery of Hollywood actors, hip-hop stars, pro athletes, skateboarders, motocrossers and now at least one global leader. The San Clemente, California, startup accomplished this by making socks that promise durability, arch support and clever designs—and by cultivating a roster of celebrity investors, who promote the brand to fans. One backer, Jay Z, name-dropped the brand in his 2013 single “F.U.T.W.” Venture capitalists like the company, too. Pedigreed investors, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, August Capital, Shasta Ventures and others from Silicon Valley, have put $110 million in the sock business. “No one had thought about this category,” says Tod Francis, co-founder of Shasta Ventures. Trudeau, who attracted attention in May for a different pair of Star Wars socks made by Stance, is a fan but not an investor. Read more at Bloomberg.