At the start of Covid, if you’d asked me which portfolio company would be most impacted, Leap would have been at the top of my list. A fast-growing retail-as-a-service platform, Leap provides turn-key stores in great locations for emerging brands looking to expand their e-commerce presence into bricks and mortar. Two years of rapid growth after our 2018 seed investment came to a grinding halt when Covid hit and the only thing bringing people into stores was toilet paper.
Fortunately, we co-led Leap’s Series A just the month before, along with Hyde Park Ventures. So Leap had enough capital to make it through. They also had (and have) an amazing team. Having founded three other start-ups together, starting with a custom t-shirt company in college, co-CEOs Jared Golden and Amish Tolia had learned the value of bringing on A+ players from the start. Under their leadership, we thought Leap’s business model would be even more attractive to brands on the other side, whatever that side looked like.
That’s exactly what happened. Despite having to shut down all of their stores temporarily, Covid actually accelerated their platform’s growth. Leap now operates almost 50 stores in eight core markets and expects those numbers to grow exponentially this year and beyond. They can’t keep up with the demand from brands that are seeking to expand into physical stores but understand how hard that is to do well – from finding the right location to building out the space to finding great employees and setting up all the systems. As important, with every store it operates, Leap collects data on brands, products and local markets that it uses to continuously optimize performance and drive better results for its customers.
We’re super excited about Leap’s progress so far, which is why we were happy to participate in their Series B, led by BAM Elevate. We are excited to watch as Leap continues to provide an incredible product to innovative brands and builds the world’s largest network of branded physical retail stores.