SBJ/March 19-25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

RaptorAccelerator buys into preview site Krush

RaptorAccelerator is the lead investor in a new $4.5 million round of equity funding in Krush Inc., an action sports product website.

Boston-based Krush Inc. was founded last year and sells and previews new products and apparel for about 150 brands in the action sports industry. Brands include Quiksilver, Oakley and Nike. In addition, the company collects consumer data for its clients.

RaptorAccelerator will take an undisclosed equity stake in Krush and become a development partner as it looks to broaden the company’s reach into traditional stick-and-ball sports.

“We saw a real opportunity in the apparel space,” said Sean Barror, co-managing director of RaptorAccelerator. “There are a lot of applications to what Krush can do in the traditional sports space, and we felt like Krush fit our profile nicely, not just in action sports but in other sports as well.”

Krush’s business model calls for companies to preview and showcase new products and apparel to consumers on the Krush site before they are officially launched. The model provides users of the site exclusive opportunities to buy products before they hit the market. It also serves as a data collection system for the brands as they launch their new products.

The company would not disclose any revenue information.

“It is a consumer-driven model and the intention is to help leading brands activate their consumer base,” said Gina Ashe, chief executive officer of Krush. “The platform lets brands showcase their planned products and we generate data for the brand.”

RaptorAccelerator is the sports and entertainment advisory division of the Raptor Group, the Boston-based financial holding company run by James Pallotta.

The division, launched last year by Pallotta, is run by former HSBC Holdings banker Mark Pannes and Barror, who previously worked in executive roles for Madison Square Garden Sports and the Boston Celtics.

Like all of its investment deals, RaptorAccelerator will take a hands-on role with Krush as it looks to generate more revenue growth at the company.

“We will look to expand the reach of the brand into other related genres of the business,” Barror said.

The investment in Krush comes after RaptorAccelerator last year took operational control of the Italian soccer club AS Roma. Pallotta is a partner in the group that bought the team, with RaptorAccelerator assigned to overhaul the operations of the franchise.

RaptorAccelerator, which has offices in Boston and Austin, Texas, also counts Charity Partners Inc. and SecurityPoint Media as clients.

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