Dick’s Sporting Goods launches ventures fund
Joining a number of other retailers with in-house investment vehicles, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced the launch of DSG Ventures, a $50 million fund that will initially focus on companies that directly serve athletes and their communities, or that help Dick’s better serve its customers.
The investment stage focus is on pre-seed, seed and series A/B rounds. In many cases, Dick’s expects to provide support beyond capital, such as help with distribution reach, retail expertise, operational disciplines and customer relationships.
DSG Ventures’ initial investments include:
- Moolah Kicks, the first and only footwear brand focused exclusively on women’s basketball;
- SidelineSwap, a resale marketplace focused on sporting goods;
- Out&Back Outdoor, a resale marketplace focused in outdoor gear;
- EL1 Sports, a youth sports training company that currently operates nine indoor training facilities, including three Los Angeles Dodgers academies;
- Courtside Ventures, a venture fund focused on early stage sports, collectibles, fitness and gaming companies.
The investment hub is also working with New York City-based marketing company VentureFuel Inc. to identify startups that could collaborate with the retailer around e-commerce, the in-store experience or AI.
“Dick’s would not be what it is today without the support we received along the way from others who saw our company’s potential,” said Ed Stack, Dick’s executive chairman and the founder’s son, in a statement. “Now DSG Ventures will enable us to give back and help support entrepreneurs achieve their dreams through our connections, experience and support.”
Corporate venture-backed funding reached $86.9 billion in 2021, strongly recovering from $40.5 billion in 2020, according to CB Insights.
In the sports space, Foot Locker over the last several years has made minority investments in sneaker marketplace Goat Group, women’s activewear brand Carbon38, footwear design academy Pensole, livestreaming platform NTWRK, and two kids apparel and footwear startups, Rockets of Awesome and Super Heroic.
The biggest corporate venture fund in the soft goods space is LVMH-backed L Catterton, which has invested in Birkenstock, Everlane, Peloton, Build-A-Bear Workshop and several other consumer brands since being formed in 2016.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods Invests In The Future Of Sport With The Launch Of DSG Ventures – Dick’s Sporting Goods
- DSG Ventures
- State Of CVC – CB Insights
- The Home Depot Announces $150 Million Venture Capital Fund to Fuel Innovation in Retail and Home Improvement – Home Depot/PRNewswire
- Ulta Beauty Launches Digital Innovation Fund, Prisma Ventures – Ulta Beauty
- Chipotle Announces $50 Million New Venture Fund, Cultivate Next – Chipotle
- Introducing the $1 billion Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund – Amazon.com
- Foot Locker, Inc. Announces Strategic Investment in PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy – Foot Locker
- L Catterton
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What should Dick’s Sporting Goods hope to gain from its launch of DSG Ventures? What should the key priorities be for retailers when deciding on the investment criteria for such in-house funds?