Culver City-based GOAT, a fast-growing marketplace for high-end sneakers, has raised $100 million from the Foot Locker retail chain. The deal is part of a broader plan for the two retailers to combine efforts across digital and physical platforms.
According to a press release issued this morning, Foot Locker’s investment is also expected to “help accelerate GOAT Group’s global operations.”
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The funding brings GOAT’s total raised to $197.6 million since its inception in 2015. Most recently, in February 2018, it raised $60 million in a Series C round with a pre-money valuation of $190 million. Index Ventures led that round, which also included participation from Upfront Ventures, Accel and Matrix Partners.
Foot Locker Chairman and CEO Richard Johnson said the athletic shoe retailer is always looking at “new ways to elevate” its customer experience and “bring sneaker and youth culture to people around the world.”
These days, more and more people are opting to buy shoes online via apps such as GOAT. I have a tween who is currently obsessed with high-end sneakers so I can personally attest to the current demand in this space. Foot Locker, despite having more than 3,000 retail locations in 27 countries, clearly recognizes the value of mobile and internet channels.
“We are excited to leverage GOAT Group’s technology to further innovate the sneaker buying experience and utilize their best-in-class online marketplace to help meet the ever-growing global demand for the latest product,” Johnson added.
In that press release, GOAT Co-founder and CEO Eddy Lu said his company pioneered a “ship-to-verify model” to make customers feel more secure when purchasing sneakers from the secondary market.
“Foot Locker will support our primarily digital presence with physical access points worldwide, bringing more value to our community of buyers and sellers,” he said.
Scott Martin, a senior vice president at Foot Locker, will join GOAT’s board as part of the financing.
The investment is the latest in a string of Foot Locker investments in digital companies. It also recently put money into women’s activewear brand Carbon38, children’s lifestyle brand Super Heroic, and footwear design academy PENSOLE. But this investment in GOAT is by far its largest yet.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias