Chicago, IL, September 2, 2020 – Wind Point Partners (“Wind Point”), a Chicago-based private equity firm, has acquired RTIC (the “Company”), the largest direct-to-consumer (“D2C”) eCommerce provider of high-quality coolers, tumblers, bottles, travel bags and other products for outdoor enthusiasts. Based in Houston, RTIC was founded by brothers Jim and John Jacobsen and quickly grew into the leading D2C brand for premium coolers and insulated drinkware. Today, the Company offers a broad portfolio of RTIC-branded products under its “Overbuilt. Not Overpriced.” promise.
Partnering with Wind Point and the Jacobsen brothers is longtime consumer products executive Bill Pond, who has joined RTIC as CEO. Mr. Pond is a seasoned leader of digital D2C businesses focused on athletic and outdoor consumer markets. Most recently, Mr. Pond served as President at SwimOutlet.com following a 16-year career with L.L. Bean, where he was responsible for leading its eCommerce business in domestic and international markets.
Mr. Pond commented, “I am thrilled to join RTIC, which has a strong and loyal following of customers who appreciate its value proposition of providing the highest quality products at affordable prices. We will not waver in that quality-for-value promise as we continue to grow and expand into new categories.”
Paul Peterson, Managing Director at Wind Point, noted, “RTIC is a tremendous brand and great example of Wind Point’s strategy of aligning interests with founders to develop a leadership succession plan for a business that has reached an inflection point in its growth. Amidst changing consumer buying behavior and in light of the current pandemic, RTIC is well-positioned to capitalize on the acceleration of eCommerce and growth in outdoor recreation. We look forward to working with Jim, John and Bill, as well as the entire RTIC team, in further building the brand and executing our value creation plan.”
RTIC represents Wind Point’s third platform acquisition of a family-owned business in the last 12 months, continuing the firm’s decades-long history of partnering with founders and entrepreneurs to drive further growth and transformation. Wind Point has also been a longtime investor in the consumer products industry, with select current and prior investments including U.S. Nonwovens, Tropicale Foods, Voyant Beauty, Evans Food Group, Bushnell Outdoor Products, and Petmate.
The Jacobsen brothers are retaining meaningful ownership stakes alongside Wind Point and will remain actively involved with RTIC as Senior Advisors and Board Members. In these roles, they will leverage their combined six decades of experience and proven track record of innovation in the outdoor consumer space to support Mr. Pond and the senior management team of RTIC.
“Given Wind Point’s experience in the consumer sector, track record of successful leadership transitions, and excellence in building strong businesses, we are thrilled to be partnering with them to help drive RTIC’s next phase of growth and long-term success,” said John Jacobsen.
Advising Wind Point on the transaction were executives Bob Black, Joe Messner, Patrick O’Brien and Jason Ackerman, all of whom have joined RTIC’s board of directors. Mr. Black will serve as RTIC’s Board Chair, bringing extensive leadership experience in the consumer products industry, including prior roles at Kimberly-Clark, Sammons, and Steelcase. This represents the third partnership between Wind Point and Mr. Black, who is also a member of the firm’s Executive Advisor Partner (“EAP”) program. This is also Wind Point’s third partnership with Mr. Messner, who is a Wind Point EAP and previously served as CEO of Petmate and Bushnell, both of which are former Wind Point portfolio companies. Mr. O’Brien most recently served as CEO of Paris Presents, following an illustrious career including leadership roles at SC Johnson and Johnson Outdoors. Mr. Ackerman is a 20-year D2C industry veteran, having founded FreshDirect, an online D2C fresh grocery provider, which he ran until 2018.
“Wind Point has assembled an impressive group of advisors with deep experience in consumer businesses and a great leader in Bill. I am excited to partner with them all to lead RTIC through significant growth. Our partnership gives me great confidence in the future of RTIC,” commented Jim Jacobsen.
Reed Smith LLP served as legal counsel to Wind Point. Winston & Strawn LLP served as legal counsel to Jim and John Jacobsen. Brown Gibbons Lang & Company LLC served as the exclusive investment bank advising RTIC in connection with the transaction.