Gap and Athleta Invest $1 Million in Footwear and Apparel Start-up Saysh

The two Gap Inc. brands invested in the label which was founded in June 2021 by the American Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix and her brother Wes Felix.

The investment was part of an $8 million Series A funding round, led by Gap and consumer fund Iris.

Saysh will use the funding to scale its e-commerce business, wholesale distribution, and community-based retail footprint, according to a company statement Thursday.

The brand also plans to expand its product offering by launching new activity-specific sneaker lines.

Allyson Felix signed as Athleta’s first-ever sponsored athlete after leaving Nike in 2019. Felix called out Nike for allegedly proposing a 70 percent pay cut in a new contract following the birth of her son.”

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When we signed Allyson Felix as our first-ever sponsored athlete in 2019, we knew we wanted to do things differently by supporting her as a mom, athlete and advocate,” said  Mary Beth Laughton, Athleta chief executive. “Today we are proud to continue supporting Allyson as an entrepreneur while fueling growth to the Athleta brand with our investment in Saysh.”

The funding round consisted of “predominantly woman-owned, woman-led investors” brought together by Springbank Collective, an early-stage investor in ventures led by women and their families.

Participants include Anne-Marie Slaughter, a gender and policy specialist, Kerin Hempel, chief executive of New York Road Runners, and Sabia Wade, founder of maternal support fund The Black Doula.

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