Industry Press Release

Faction Skis launches into winter with additional $3 Million Investment, Expands Leadership Team

10/23/2012

Fast-growing independent ski equipment and apparel brand The Faction Collective accelerates growth ambitions with successful fundraising

Breckenridge, CO (October 23, 2012) — The Faction Collective today announces investment of more than $3M by Octopus Investments (“Octopus”) and a group of proven angel investors. Faction has seen its sales double since the last ski season, and won several industry awards for its innovative and iconic skis, that have attracted the enthusiastic approval of freestyle and freeride skiers in Europe, North America and Asia. Faction will use the additional capital and revenues to expand its range of skis and other products, invest further in technology development, and increase awareness.

Faction will also be adding to its management team, with co-founder Alex Hoye becoming full-time CEO to lead its growth. He joins his co-founder Tony McWilliam who continues to lead the company’s design studio in Verbier and focus on product and brand innovation. The company expects to add other employees in both its Swiss Headquarters and internationally.

Angels investing include Christopher Spray, formerly of Atlas Venture, Anthemis founder Sean Park, the GoBeyond angel group, all of whom will be joining the board, as well as Dave Morin of Path, Facebook and Apple.  The company expects to take additional investment before year-end.

Earlier in 2012 Faction won the endorsement of multiple X-game champion Candide Thovex.  Thovex showcases Faction’s skis in the major feature film Few Words, released in cinemas in October. Faction and Candide also collaborated on the development of Faction’s new Superlight series of skis.  About 800 grams lighter than traditional models, with cores built from recycled PET and flax with patented pressure treatment, they push the boundaries of ski technology. 

Commenting on the investment, co-founder McWilliam said, ” A ‘faction’ is a group formed to challenge the establishment. From the outset, the Faction Collective emerged out of the need to create skis freestyle and freeride skiing, with design and clothing that reflects our ethos. We are passionate about our sport and about making the very best products possible.  This investment ensures that we will deliver more and better to an Apple-inspired generation of skier brought up with the values we have: There is no substitute for a fanatic focus on design, quality and individual personality.”

Incoming CEO Hoye, adds: “Our team and investors share our vision that Faction is not only part of the double-digit shift in the $7 billion market toward freeskiing at the expense of snowboards and traditional skis, we also deliver on the lean ethos disrupting traditional business rapid product development, global collaboration with top talent, new digital ways to engage with our fans and channel partners, a commitment to company responsibility, and the view that it is not worth doing if it is not simply better.  This focus has consistently led us to pioneer new materials and styles, bucking a trend to race-to-the-bottom, cost-only focus in the industry.”

“Tony and I formed Faction after realising that none of the major ski companies were in tune with the needs and interests of our generation of freeride and freestyle skiers. Data in Europe is not compiled, but using North American data as a reference, freeskiing participation is up 46% in the past two years to 20% of all skiers in the same period snowboarding unit sales have declined an average of 9% per year over the past three according to the SnowSports Industries Association.”

“From a modest beginning, Faction has emerged as one of the fastest-growing independent brands in the market.  Our expectation over the next few years to become a major force in the industry through dedica