Foot Locker has announced a $100 million minority investment in GOAT Group, a sneaker resale company that includes Flight Club. Going forward, Foot Locker plans to integrate GOAT’s resale platform cross its digital and physical retail platforms to “create exclusive customer experiences.”
Commenting on the purchase, Foot Locker CEO Richard Johnson stated in press, “We want to create a more seamless, frictionless experience for our customer that wants to partake in the secondary market,” says Johnson, who has run Foot Locker since 2014. “Partnering with GOAT strengthens our relationship and engagement with our customer.”
“In 2015, we pioneered the ship-to-verify model with a mission to bring a seamless and safe customer experience to the secondary sneaker market,” said Eddy Lu, co-founder and CEO of GOAT. “With over 3,000 retail locations, Foot Locker will support our primarily digital presence with physical access points worldwide, bringing more value to our community of buyers and sellers. Having Foot Locker as a strategic partner will also expand our business as we continue to scale our operations both domestically and internationally.”
Lu noted the investment will be used to expand GOAT’s global reach. “We want to use the investment to create a better experience for our buyers and sellers around the world,” says Lu, who plans to add local languages and currencies to the app, which is currently limited to the English language and U.S. dollar transactions.
GOAT, an acronym for “greatest of all time,” was founded by Eddy Lu and Daishin Sugano, both of whom founded the company in 2015. Sugano was inspired to start the company after he was burned buying a counterfeit pair of Air Jordan 5 “Grapes” on Ebay.
Lu and Sugano’s goal was to create a resale company with a built-in authentication process, thereby removing the possibility of fraud. Shoes are bought and sold through GOAT’s 12 locations globally. As part of the resale process, GOAT takes a 10%-30% cut of each transaction.
Last February, GOAT merged with brick-and-mortar-based Flight Club, which operates three stores in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Prior to the investment from Foot Locker, according to Forbes, GOAT raised $60 million from venture capital firms Index Ventures, Accel, Matrix Partners, Upfront Ventures and Webb Investment.
GOAT doesn’t release revenue or valuation information, but the 2018 investment valued the company at roughly $250 million, according to Recode. The latest investment from Foot Locker is the first from a strategic partner and grows GOAT’s valuation to more than $550 million, per Forbes‘ sources.