by Stephen Garner

Norwest Venture Partners has made a growth equity investment in Vuori, a leading performance apparel brand based in Encinitas, California. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal comes after Vuori’s impressive growth (179 percent in 2018) caught the attention of Norwest Venture Partners’ team. Vuori, at the helm of CEO and founder Joe Kudla, will leverage the investment to hire additional staff members, purchase more inventory, and open doors to more physical stores around the U.S.

Jon Kossow, managing partner at Norwest, will join Vuori’s board of directors as part of this minority investment. Vuori joins other consumer companies in Norwest’s portfolio including Birdies, Casper Sleep, Grove Collaborative, Jolyn, Kendra Scott, Madison Reed, and Topo Athletic, and aligns with the firm’s strategy of investing in direct-to-consumer and omnichannel brands. Norwest will secure a minority stake in Vuori as part of the deal.

Kudla first saw the opportunity to launch the company while living in San Diego. A lifelong athlete, Kudla was engaging in outdoor fitness activities such as hiking, yoga, running, and mountain biking. At the time, he was continually searching for the appropriate clothing to suit his own athletic endeavors but found himself dissatisfied with the limited options available in the market.

Through his own experience, Kudla became aware of the massive vacancy for a brand that genuinely catered to the men’s athletic market. In 2015, Kudla launched Vuori’s first collection of men’s athletic apparel that was designed to move and sweat in but styled for everyday life. Thanks to Vuori’s innovative fabrics and sleek, eye-catching designs, Kudla and his team were soon in business with reputable retail partners including REI, Nordstrom, Equinox, and Core Power Yoga. Today, Vuori offers products for men and women alike, each item meticulously designed with a new perspective on performance apparel that seamlessly transitions from physical activity to leisure and beyond.

“As devoted customers, it was apparent to us that Vuori had built versatile products with tremendous energy and soul,” said Kossow. “This is exactly the type of positive brand experience we search for in our consumer investments, and we look forward to supporting Joe and the team as they continue to bring new products to market and delight their customers.”

“Since launching Vuori, we’ve added so many incredible team members to our community, all of them completely aligned with our mission to deliver the best activewear in the market,” added Kudla. “From our employees to our retail partners, to the folks who drop by our stores just to say hello, starting this business has been a team effort since day one. We are thrilled that our team is further expanding to include Norwest, and look forward to what our partnership will bring.”