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Innovative sailing apparel company, Zhik, raises $2 million via Equitise

High-tech sailing apparel company Zhik has completed its first crowdfunding campaign, raising just over $2 million at a valuation of just under $30 million.

The Sydney-based business partnered with leading platform Equitise on the campaign which was largely supported by customers as well as sailing luminaries including Australian Sailing Team Hall of Fame Master coach Victor Kovalenko.

Vitamins mogul Marcus Blackmore also participated, joining long-time backer Nightingale Partners who has supported the company since 2013 and cornerstoned the raise. Nightingale Chairman and Managing Director Lindsay Phillips said Zhik’s relentless pursuit of innovation and commitment to excellence were what attracted Nightingale to the company.

“We’ve supported Zhik since 2012 and have witnessed its remarkable journey firsthand,” he said.

“By cornerstoning this most recent raise, we reaffirm our belief in Zhik’s vision and our unwavering commitment to fostering the growth of pioneering Australian technology companies.”

Zhik CEO, sailing champion and multiple Olympic gold medalist, Mat Belcher OAM said the funds would enable the company to fast track global expansion plans and cement its position as the industry leader.

“With the unwavering support of our incredible community, we are setting sail on a new horizon of success,” he said.

“The completion of this crowdfund campaign is not just a milestone, it’s a testament to the passion and loyalty of our sailing enthusiasts worldwide. It will fuel our global expansion, allow us to navigate uncharted waters and solidify our position as the unrivalled leader in sailing apparel.”

Belcher has had a long association with the company – first testing gear with the company in 2004 and joining the Board after the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 before taking on the CEO role in October last year.

Zhik was created in the Sydney garage of Brian Connolly the founder of Lake Technology which was bought by Dolby and turned into Dolby Australia in 2004. Brian had just taken up sailing and found everything about the gear involved presented an opportunity for improvement. He began creating clothing and equipment, designing solutions for uncomfortable harnesses by adding Velcro entry systems and developing a breathable waterproof fabric which was four times more waterproof than the market-leading alternatives.

Zhik now kits out the best sailors in the world including America’s Cup winners, Sail GP and Olympic winning teams. It was an official supplier to the Australian Olympic team in Tokyo and fitted out the New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark teams too. The company has supported more than 100 elite  athletes  representing  23  nations  who have won  58  Olympic  medals  and more than 100  World  Championships combined.

It has a network of trade partners and distributors across 49 countries with warehouses in Australia, the UK, Netherlands and the US and rapid revenue growth – up 40% last financial year and 70% the year before.

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