Oakley partners with the founders of digitally native golf brand Vice Golf
- Premium golf balls sold direct-to-consumer offers competitive pricing advantage
- Innovative design and focus on social media provide marketing edge
- Large, stable golf market benefitting from a shift to healthy living and flexible working
Oakley Capital, the pan-European private equity investor, is pleased to announce that Oakley Capital Origin Fund is investing in Vice Sporting Goods GmbH (“Vice Golf”), the leading digitally native golf brand.
Golf is a centuries-old sport that has proven its enduring appeal and stability through economic cycles and is today played by c.70 million across the globe. It has seen a significant boost during the COVID pandemic with the number of golf rounds played in the US increasing 20% between 2019 and 2021, driven by existing players playing more rounds and new players embracing the sport, as well as a shift to healthy living and flexible working.
Founded in 2012 in Munich by entrepreneurs Ingo Düllmann and Rainer Stöckl, Vice Golf has a strong track record of profitable growth with >40% top-line CAGR between FY18 and FY21 at ~20% EBITDA margin. The Company has successfully disrupted the golf ball market by offering premium golf balls at significantly lower price points than comparable products through its direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model and social media marketing.
Vice Golf has developed an enthusiastic following and established itself as the largest digital-first player in the global golf ball market thanks to its product proposition and novel designs. The Company principally sells golf balls as well as accessories such as caps and gloves to golfers of all ages and skill levels across the US and Europe. Following customer demand Vice Golf recently entered the apparel segment via highly successfully collaborations with top brands such as Adidas and Beastin.
Oakley’s partnership with Vice Golf builds on the firm’s deep expertise supporting DTC businesses such as Gymondo (part of 7NXT), Germany’s leading online fitness and nutrition platform, and Wishcard, one of Europe’s leading digital gift card companies. The investment in Vice Golf is another example of Oakley’s ability to leverage its wider network and reputation to form long-lasting partnerships with successful entrepreneurs. Oakley’s investment will help the business to accelerate its growth, product diversification strategy and internationalisation.
Ingo Düllmann and Rainer Stöckl, Vice Golf Co-Founders, commented: “We were attracted to Oakley’s successful record of partnering with disruptive brands and founders. And as business founders, Oakley’s entrepreneurial heritage particularly appealed to us. With their support, we are confident that we can further accelerate our ambitious growth strategy for Vice Golf.
Oakley Capital Founder and Managing Partner, Peter Dubens, commented: “Vice Golf has seen impressive growth thanks to its innovative approach of offering passionate golfers leading product quality at a highly competitive price. We look forward to working with Ingo and Rainer and help the Vice Golf team to build a globally leading multi-product brand in the golf world.”
About Oakley Capital
Founded in 2002, Oakley Capital has demonstrated the repeated ability to source attractive growth assets at attractive prices. To do this it relies on its sector and regional expertise, its ability to tackle transaction complexity and its deal generating entrepreneur network.