Sports and outdoor clothing retail brand ilabb is seeking to raise several millions of dollars in a capital raise as it looks to expand its operations in Canada and into Europe.
The company has attracted the attention of a string of high-profile investors, led by lead investor and Xero founder Rod Drury, along with ex-All Black Dan Carter, cricket star Lockie Ferguson and ex-CEO of Spark Ventures Rod Snodgrass.
ilabb is midway through the round, but tight-lipped about how much it is seeking to raise.
Drury's investment is over 10 per cent of the company. He was an early backer and is a mentor to company founder Seadon Baker.
As well as new investors, ilabb has recently appointed Michelle Mitchell and Dave Anderson as directors, both of whom helped take Kiwi merino clothing firm Icebreaker global.
Baker told the Herald that raised capital would be invested in establishing and hiring more staff for the new Canadian base and supporting inventory into the new market.
ilabb has recently expanded into Canada, with Baker relocating to the country and establishing a base in Whistler, British Columbia. Canada is its first international market outside of Australasia. It has four full-time employees in Canada at present
The brand is "gaining strong traction" in the North American market and has recently signed a sponsorship deal with the world's largest mount bike festival organiser, Crankworx.
ilabb is the official apparel partner under collaboration with Crankworx and has designed a line, supplying clothing for both Kiwi and Canadian athletes.
The deal is worth six figures and will put the brand in front of millions of eyeballs globally.
Baker said the partnership was a dream come true.
"ilabb turns 15 [tomorrow] and it has been a long road out of a small garage to being on the world stage and partnering with not only some of the biggest athletes in the world but now some of the biggest events. It is going to be pretty surreal to attend the festival itself in August as an official partner," said Baker.
"It's exciting to see people I don't know on the other side of the world wearing the brand."
Baker is targeting revenue of $100 million-plus and a team of 100 within the next five years.
The brand has plans to expand into Europe in the next two to three years.
He said bricks and mortar retail stores are in the brand's future, but it will enter new markets through wholesale in the first instance. This is the strategy it is taking in Canada currently.
"Our strategy is very much mountain and bike based initially, which is why we are based in places like Whistler. A number of other events we are attending throughout Canada, East and West Coast, are at other major bike parks," he said.
"Crankworx goes to Austria so we're excited to be a part of the biking hub there. There's a place in Morzine in France which is famous; there are some awesome ski resorts which have now converted themselves into incredible bike parks in the summertime so we will very much be building our athlete base in Europe next year, and our event and resort partnerships."
ilabb employs 40 staff worldwide, in addition to using contractors. The company has worked with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to help with its global expansion.
Baker said it was "exciting to be flying a Kiwi flag" into international markets at a time where few brands in the adventure space are representing New Zealand.
"There's not many these days because Icebreaker is foreign-owned now. There are lots of lovely food products coming out of New Zealand, but there's typically not a lot of Kiwi-born and raised and created brands."
ilabb was founded fifteen years ago in Picton in 2007, creating adventure-based apparel originally for motorcross racing teams. Baker said ilabb was now embarking on its "next big chapter".