Sports drink entrepreneur Mike Repole takes majority stake in sneaker brand Nobull
Nobull is a training brand founded in 2015 by former Reebok executives Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer.
The man who turned Vitaminwater and BodyArmor into household beverage names is turning his attention to the sneaker industry.
Mike Repole’s private equity firm will buy a majority stake in the company Nobull, he told CNBC on Thursday. It’s the first significant investment for Impact Capital, the private equity arm of Repole’s family office.
“I fell in love with just the name, the brilliance of Nobull and what it stands for. It is no excuses, no BS, just get it done,” he said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Repole said it’s his biggest investment in a brand to date.
Nobull is a training brand founded in 2015 by former Reebok executives Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer. The Boston-based company employs about 100 people across the U.S., U.K. and China, and sells its sneakers and apparel primarily online.
Nobull is a footwear, apparel and accessory brand based in Boston.
In recent years, the company has signed partnerships with fitness brand CrossFit, The PGA Tour and the NFL Combine.
Repole said he first reached out to the founders about 14 months ago with a deal proposal. It went ignored. He continued to reach out until about two months ago when they met and immediately hit it off with a shared vision of success, Repole said.
“I think that this brand can really be a life-changing brand for so many people,” Repole said. “The Nobull mentality is about being a better version of yourself and just cutting out the noise and clutter.”
Repole said his plans for the brand may include an eventual initial public offering.
“If we want to build this big multibillion platform … taking this public I think is going to be the best way to go about it,” he said.
Co-founder Wilson said Repole’s history of successful exits is part of what makes him a compelling partner for Nobull.
Repole sold BodyArmor to Coca-Cola for $5.6 billion in 2021. Before that, he co-founded Glaceau, maker of the popular brands Vitaminwater and Smartwater, which were also sold to Coke in 2007.
“As we think about the next phase or the next chapter in this book of our brand, Mike is someone who has been multiple times to where we’re going and is often several chapters ahead in that book,” Wilson told CNBC.
In the near term, the trio will be focused on broadening the brand’s reach.
“Some of the many things that [Repole] and his team bring are operational excellence,” Wilson said. “Mike gets what it takes to go from hundreds of millions into billions.”