High-tech sailing apparel company Zhik to drive global growth and add to its register of high profile sailing enthusiasts.

Innovative sailing apparel company Zhik is raising the mainsail under the stewardship of a new CEO, multiple Olympic gold medalist Mat Belcher OAM.

The Sydney-based company is launching its first crowdfunding campaign with leading platform Equitise, aiming to raise $4 million at a valuation of $28.5 million.

Zhik has a network of trade partners and distributors across 49 countries with warehouses in Australia, the UK, Netherlands and the US, and rapid revenue growth up 40% last financial year and 70% the year before.

Former head of UBS Japan and two-time winner of the Sydney to Hobart, Matt Allen AM, was an early backer along with private equity fund Nightingale Partners.

Known for its long-term investment strategy Nightingale has supported the company since 2013 and will cornerstone the latest raise with other high profile investors.

With Masters degrees in project and property management as well as a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting, Belcher says he’s been enjoying combining his business skills with his extensive knowledge and relationships in sailing at such an exciting time for Zhik.

Zhik CEO, sailing champion and multiple Olympic medalist Mat Belcher. Image: Supplied 

“The crowdfund campaign kicks off an exciting new chapter for the company as it looks to fast track global expansion plans and cement its position as the industry leader,” he said.

“Our investment plan is centred around continuing to drive our digital capabilities and working closely with our extensive trade partners to expand into new territories and grow market share.”

“We also want to continue investing in developing more sustainable technical and lifestyle products, whilst expanding our range for the broader sailing, boating and watersports markets.”

From Sydney garage to global sailing powerhouse

Zhik was created by Brian Connolly after he sold his technology company Lake Technology to Dolby in 2004.

He took up sailing and found everything about the gear involved presented an opportunity for improvement.

Connolly began creating clothing and equipment, designing solutions for uncomfortable harnesses by adding Velcro entry systems and developing a breathable waterproof fabric which was four times more waterproof durable than the market-leading alternatives.

Zhik now outfits the best sailors in the world, including America’s Cup winners, Sail GP and Olympic winning teams.

It was an official supplier to the Australian Olympic team in Tokyo and fitted out the New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark teams too.

The company has supported more than 100 elite athletes representing 23 nations who have won 58 Olympic medals and more than 100 World Championships combined.

The crowdfund is open to all investors in Australia and New Zealand and to Sophisticated, High Net Worth or Experienced Investors in the UK and EU.

The offer opens on Thursday the 16th of March.

This article was developed in collaboration with Zhik, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.