By Andy Bamber
The great outdoors. You might be thinking you’re heading out into it au naturel, unburdened of the cares of the material world and that stuff we call money. But chances are, before you’ve even stepped foot on Mount Shasta or breathed the cool, crisp air of Yosemite, you’ve already spent several hundreds of dollars on outdoor apparel and equipment to make your time more “enjoyable.” You’re also likely to be carrying gear that could approach 100 pounds, or more.
It’s a beautiful idea to be able to enjoy the outdoors for a few hours or days of restorative, mindful recreation, and that’s just what Demetri Coupounas and Kim Coupounas, the founders of Colorado-based My Trail Company, want you to do. Simple, high-performance gear that’s light on the planet is the guiding philosophy behind the new company.
In the same spirit of returning to first principles for outdoor gear, My Trail Company is planning to conduct a Direct Public Offering (DPO) to raise investment capital to get the venture off the ground. My Trail Company is just one of the ten companies that took part in our recently completed fourth DPO Boot Camp, our group format for taking entrepreneurs through the DPO preparation and filing process.
My Trail Company has yet to receive regulatory approval for their DPO, so the terms of the investment opportunity cannot be disclosed. What can be said is that the company plans to use the funds raised to change the outdoor apparel industry in a similar manner to Demetri and Kim’s previous venture, GoLite, which revolutionized the industry when it began 16 years ago, but which went into bankruptcy last year and was liquidated to make way for a healthier, more profitable company better able to serve its customers.
While My Trail Company is an entirely new entity and not a successor to GoLite, it has purchased the intellectual property and several other assets of the former company, and is off to a strong start. It has incorporated as a Colorado benefit corporation. Later, it plans to seek B Corp certification. My Trail plans to use the funds raised in its DPO to purchase inventory and launch an e-commerce site, before eventually opening a series of highly profitable physical stores.
Demetri, who himself has an MBA from Harvard and a broad background in business and government, including a stint at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, arrived at the decision to do a DPO after initially starting out thinking he would raise money from accredited investors. When he found that, more often than not, what he had in common with investors was an MBA, not a love of the outdoors, he reassessed.
For him, a DPO makes sense because it is aligned with cutting out the middleman, something they strive to do with My Trail Company, a move uncommon to the outdoor apparel industry. Traditionally, a long line of middlemen extract value in the supply chain, which is largely to blame for the high cost of outdoor gear. Demetri wants to add value back into the relationship between the supplier and the consumer. “A DPO is totally on brand, and makes sense. It’s how we want to approach the universe, in terms of suppliers, customers, investors—it’s everything you need, nothing you don’t, simplicity,” he says.
While Demetri is realistic about the challenges of starting and scaling a business, he believes that a DPO will be critical to My Trail Company’s success, as a way to both engage a wide circle of supporters and increase company performance. “I look forward to raising capital from lots folks who believe in and already understand the mission of the company. A DPO is a powerful force to increase the performance of the entity,” he says.
As a participant in Cutting Edge Capital’s DPO Boot Camp, Demetri will receive all of the information, materials, and support necessary to design and seek regulatory approval for a public offering of securities in Colorado. The offering will be open to both accredited and unaccredited investors. Through the DPO Boot Camp, clients receive the same benefits of working with us individually, but in a supportive group format of like-minded entrepreneurs.
With My Trail Company’s DPO fast approaching, preparations are running full tilt at the company’s headquarters in Boulder, home to a large population of dedicated outdoor enthusiasts. When the DPO launches, the company plans a marketing and outreach campaign to get the word out to the local community. Demetri is fond of saying “the fishing is best right where you are” and anticipates considerable interest in the offering.
From our vantage point at Cutting Edge Capital, we couldn’t agree more. Raising “community capital” can be a powerful way to start or grow your values-driven business.
Cutting Edge Capital’s next boot camp begins on April 23rd. Learn more about the program here.