Brand Velocity Partners acquires Original Footwear

Brand Velocity Partners (BVP), a private equity (PE) firm focused on acquiring lower-middle market consumer businesses in search of marketing muscle, has purchased Original Footwear Inc. 

Original Footwear, with its Altama and Original SWAT brands, is globally known for its military and law enforcement footwear and, to be announced tomorrow, an expanded line of consumer active and fashion footwear.

This is the first deal consummated by BVP, a firm founded in 2019 and run by partners with deep experience in both PE and brand marketing.

Kevin Cole, founder and CEO of Original Footwear, says: “Over the past 50 years, Original Footwear’s brands, including Altama, have become an integral part of Americana for many both in and outside of the military and law enforcement. We are thrilled that the Original Footwear family will leverage BVP’s incredible marketing tools to together expand our global business in the years ahead.”

Steve Lebowitz, managing partner of BVP and former co-founder and managing partner of Topspin Partners, says: “There is a yawning gap in the marketplace for a PE firm to do more than financial engineering – great consumer companies are not built through spreadsheets, but rather through excellent products and superior marketing. My partners and I bring together the perfect blend of capital, investment acumen, and brand marketing expertise. We will be bringing the full weight of our capabilities to the fore with Original Footwear as well as other acquisitions that fit into our firm’s profile.”

BVP’s marketing expertise is provided by partners Drew Sheinman, whose career includes developing brands and new ventures for Endeavor (WME-IMG), Coca-Cola, Madison Square Garden, and the New York Mets; and Larry Rothstein, whose full-service ad/marketing firm Source Communications is nationally recognised for its innovative activation programs for Subway, CohnReznick, Investors Bank, and Hewlett-Packard, among others.

Other BVP partners include John Goldman, former partner and leader of the sports practice at Herrick, Feinstein LLP, and Austin Ramos, former Topspin colleague of Steve Lebowitz and managing partner at RunCap Partners.

Investing with BVP in Original Footwear is BPEA, a Boston-based private equity firm that has completed buyout and growth investments in more than 130 companies. Christopher Austen, a managing director at BPEA, says: “We are very excited about partnering with Brand Velocity Partners to purchase Original Footwear. BVP’s approach of using marketing to propel growth is highly innovative in the PE world and represents an excellent complement to the needs of Original Footwear.”

Also participating in the transaction were Pinnacle Financial Partners, a leading regional bank headquartered in Nashville, and Invision Capital, an SBIC fund based in Chicago.