Northern sportswear business gets ISIS seal of approval

ISIS Equity Partners has led an investment round into sportswear brand inov-8, its third transaction of 2012.

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A new equity investment by ISIS is set to allow inov-8 to continue with its expansion into new markets and to further develop its new products.

The deal, which follows on from ISIS’s backing of Happy Days and support of Autologic’s MBO earlier in 2012, is for an undisclosed amount. North Pennines-based inov-8 has a focus on technical off-road running and was founded in 2003 by Wayne Edy.

The business began following the design of the mudroc 290 running shoe and took off when Melissa Moon, a mountain runner from New Zealand, wore the shoe to win the 2003 World Mountain Running Association Trophy.

Since then Robert Perkins was brought into the business in 2009 to aid with product development and marketing.

Edy says, ‘[ISIS’] expertise in working with dynamic, rapidly growing young businesses will be invaluable to the management team as we scale up our operations to meet growing international consumer demand.

‘Finding an investment partner that understands the opportunities and potential created by new technology and innovative thinking in all areas of the business was crucial to accelerating our growth plans.’

As part of the transaction, Mark Advani and Adam Holloway, both partners at ISIS, will join the board of inov-8. Advani and Holloway were part of the board at cycling e-tailer Wiggle, a business which was sold to Bridgepoint in December 2011 for £180 million.

Advani adds, ‘Inov-8 has an incredibly inspiring story so far. Wayne and Robert deserve immense credit for building the business from a singular racing product to a global brand of choice for committed athletes around the world.’

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