Climbing brand Evolv gets new owner

The brand that claims Chris Sharma as its star athlete and product developer gets a cash infusion from private equity.
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The “greatest rock climber on the planet” just found a little extra cash at his disposal.

At Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, California climbing brand Evolv, which claims Chris Sharma as its star athlete and product developer, announced it was selling to Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co., a New York City-based private equity firm that acquired Royal Robbins in December 2012.

Financial details of the deal were undisclosed, but Stephen Sherrill, co-founder and Managing Director of BRS, said, “We have been very impressed with the accomplishments of Brian Chung, Chris Sharma and the rest of the Evolv team in building an enthusiast and authentic brand. We look forward to supporting the company’s growth strategy of staying focused on being a core performance climbing shoe company while expanding into other outdoor-related product categories.”

Beyond shoes, Evolv also crafts high-friction rubber for outsoles under the Trax USA label. Evolv’s award-winning Cruzer shoe blends casual style with a performance sole, so expect more ventures beyond core climbing with new financial muscle behind the brand. But don’t expect Evolv to devolve into a lifestyle project now that it has more financial support.

“We are very pleased to partner with BRS due to its extensive experience in the outdoor sector and ability to provide valuable strategic guidance,” Chung said. “We are also excited to deepen the company’s relationship with Chris Sharma, who has been an important contributor to the building of the Evolv brand.”

—Doug Schnitzspahn

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