Rep the Squad, a new subscription-based club offering officially licensed professional sports jerseys, has raised $1.5 million in venture funding.
The investors included Madrona Venture Group, Maveron, Aspect Ventures, and Curious Capital. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin; Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate; Los Angeles Chargers lineman Russell Okung; and Seattle Mariners legend Edgar Martinez are also investors. Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman is a brand ambassador. The company was was developed at Madrona Venture Labs.
Based in Seattle, Rep The Squad is co-founded and led by veteran e-commerce executive Brian Watkins.
According to a statement, the sports consumer traditionally spends hundreds of dollars on a single jersey that may not keep pace with the latest trends, rapidly changing rosters, fan sentiment or even a child’s growth spurt. Rep The Squad gives its members flexibility to wear jerseys of multiple players throughout the season – from star quarterback to rising rookie – in a variety of colors and styles, modern or retro, for a flat monthly fee of $19.95 for adult and $16.95 for youth sizes.
“As passionate fans ourselves, the sports jersey market is poised for consumer disruption,” said Watkins. “We provide our members with a new way of expressing allegiance, loyalty and devotion to their favorite city, team and players.”
Rep The Squad is built on the access-over-ownership model within the $18 billion sports merchandise industry. For its initial launch, Rep The Squad will offer a diverse selection of football jerseys from San Francisco, Seattle and Detroit. The company plans to scale throughout the season to include additional professional football and basketball markets.
“Rep The Squad is truly unique and the concept immediately resonated with me,” added Sherman. “As players, we also like wearing different jerseys from various sports when we’re off the field. That’s the flexibility Rep The Squad brings to the table.”
Rep The Squad users log-in to create a profile and personalized “digital locker” of players and styles that highlights their unique sense of style and fandom. Rep The Squad delivers the first jersey within three days and when ready for a fresh look, users simply send it back and the next available jersey will ship immediately.
Rep The Squad offers free shipping and returns with every exchange and professional cleaning after each use.
Prior to founding Rep The Squad, Watkins was founder and president of Ritani.com, the largest omnichannel jeweler in the world. He also served as director of strategy at Nordstrom, VP of merchandising at Blue Nile and was a senior consultant at Bain & Company.
Alex Berg, co-founder and VP of growth & user experience at Rep The Squad, is a product development and e-commerce veteran. Previously, Berg was a vice president of product at Ritani, a partner and director of strategy & analytics at Fell Swoop, creative director at Expedia, and director of site development at Blue Nile.