After vanquishing the shoelace, Denver-based Boa Technology sells for $454 million
Gary Hammerslag remembers more than 20 years ago watching snowboarders and hockey players struggling with shoelaces. He was new to Colorado and snowboarding back then, a recent transplant from Southern California, where he had created and sold a company that made the hairlike wires doctors threaded through clogged veins during angioplasty procedures.
As the athletes yanked on century-old technology, Hammerslag thought he could do better. After a few years of tinkering in a small office in Steamboat Springs, he built Boa Technology, an innovative lacing system that uses wires — not unlike those he developed for plaque-blasting doctors — to cinch shoes to feet.
Now the company has its revolutionary dial-it-tight fit system laced through more than 400 brands of shoes, boots and even medical braces. The company has offices in Europe and Asia and more than 230 employees, including about 150 at its Denver headquarters. And earlier this month, a publicly traded investment company announced it was paying $454 million for Boa Technology, marking one of the largest ever deals for a Colorado outdoors brand.
“Looking back, I did kind of see that it was possible to get this far,” said Hammerslag, whose initial quest to vanquish the shoelace has evolved into science-based fit and performance technology. “You know there are a lot of shoes in the world. So this is remarkable, but not completely unexpected.”
Boa Technology and its Boa Fit System have grown a lot since 2001, when K2 and Vans took a chance on Hammerslag’s first-of-its-kind lacing system for their snowboard boots. The company has almost 160 patents and is all over snowboarding, cycling, golf and hiking shoes, is expanding rapidly into trail running, hiking, mountaineering and court sports, and is pushing its innovation into helmets, safety equipment and medical braces.
Read more via The Colorado Sun.
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