Victoria-based ecologyst Outfitters is choosing to raise funds through private investors versus going public at this time.
Calgary’s Trail Blazing Ventures (TSXV: BLAZ.P), a capital pool company led by entrepreneur Darren Bondar, had filed the paperwork to acquire the clothing brand in August. It seemed to be a match made in retail heaven. Capital pool companies can be useful to a startup like ecologyst to go public without committing to a lengthy IPO.
However, Trail Blazing Ventures and ecologyst announced this week they are not moving forward with the qualifying transaction with ecologyst. Trail Blazing Ventures noted it will be seeking other investment opportunities in the future.
Bondar is currently CEO of Hempalta, an AgTech play he started earlier this year to corner the hemp processing and retail product market in southern Alberta. He was previously founder and CEO of Inner Spirit Holdings, the national cannabis retailer acquired by Sundial Growers, now SNDL Inc., for $131 million in 2021.
Hempalta recently completed a crowdfunding round through the FrontFundr platform that netted almost $500,000 for its operations. The Calgary-based company has been successfully applying new technologies to commercial-scale hemp processing to deliver a variety of consumer products such as food preservation pads, cat litter, animal bedding and soil amendment.
As for ecologyst, it has become known for disrupting the legacy clothing industry by producing and retailing sustainably and ethically produced fashion through its unique manufacturer-to-consumer (M2C) business model. Founded by CEO René Gauthier, ecologyst combines technology and in-house ethical production to eliminate waste and reduce inventory, while maintaining high quality standards.
ecologyst intends to continue raising funds to support its growth and extend its M2C business model to additional locations. The company’s also been effective at crowdfunding on the FrontFundr platform, having raised $2.9 million over three distinct campaigns.