Carbitex’s flexible carbon fiber composites, seen often in performance footwear—particularly running shoes—are currently integrated into products at 11 footwear brands, including Adidas, DC Shoes and Scott Sports.
With the additional capital support, the composite maker said it plans to expand its business development and marketing, facilities and machinery to increase automation and capacity. The investment follows a year that saw 510 percent growth in sales, which are forecast to further increase by 95 percent this year.
Excelsior Venture Capital, led by former Crocs CEO Ron Snyder, launched its support of Carbitex in late 2020. During his five years at the clog maker, Snyder led Crocs to what was in 2006 the largest initial public offering in the footwear industry. Since leaving the company, he has embarked on several private ventures, among them helping found the tequila company Codigo 1530.
Gary Hammerslag, inventor of the dial-based Boa Fit System, launched Boa Technology in 1998, led the company as CEO for well over a decade and, until late last year, served as chairman of the board. A mentor to Carbitex’s founder Junus Khan since December 2016 and an investor as of late 2017, Hammerslag now serves as a board observer at the carbon fiber firm.
Michael Marks became involved with Carbitex even earlier than Hammerslag, in spring of 2016. Marks holds more than 40 years of experience co-founding capital investment companies, including his current firm WRVI Capital. Currently the largest independent stakeholder at the composite materials maker, he has extensive experience running multinational manufacturing companies, including as CEO at Flextronics, an electronic contract manufacturing firm, and as an investor and former board member of Crocs and Zappos.
Numerous shoe brands have turned to carbon fiber composites for some of their highest-performing running models. Among these lines is The North Face’s new trail-running family Vectiv. The outdoor brand said it teamed with 14 athletes to put the design through more than 6,000 miles of testing, setting 17 records along the way.
Hoka One One’s Carbon X line embeds a carbon fiber plate in its midsole to “provide a smooth and propulsive ride through the gait cycle for an efficient stride over many miles,” the running brand said. The most recent iteration, the Carbon X 2, was put to the ultimate test last month as more than three dozen runners wearing the silhouette attempted to break the 100K (62.2-mile) world record. The lead runner, Jim Walmsley, ended the race just 11 seconds short.