Tech Outdoor Company Aoxue Culture Completes Tens of Millions of CNY in A+ Round Financing

Consumer Staples Author: EqualOcean News, Jiahui Liao Editor: Jiaqi Li May 14, 2024 02:54 PM (GMT+8)

Aoxue Culture aims to forge a domestic full-category outdoor sports brand.

AI + Sports

EqualOcean has learned that recently, tech outdoor gear company Aoxue Culture has completed a strategic A+ round financing of tens of millions of Chinese yuan, with the investment led by Mr. Yang Haiwei, who previously served as COO at Li-Ning Group, a leading domestic sports brand, and has profound insights into the sports industry's development. The funds raised will mainly be allocated to the systematic construction of the brand and a comprehensive expansion into outdoor sports.

Founded in 2014, Aoxue Culture started with self-media and later expanded into snow gear and outdoor equipment. On social media platforms, Aoxue Culture has accumulated tens of thousands of followers and owns the entry-level skiing brand "Zero Summer" and the enthusiast extreme brand "Nobaday," with young people as the main customer base. During the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Nobaday gained widespread recognition when its contracted skier Max Parrot won the championship.

According to the founder, Liu Fengxi, for the 2023 snow season alone, the company's GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) exceeded one billion CNY, with a compound growth rate of over 100% in the past three years. Several of its snow sports hardware products have been listed among the bestsellers in the Tmall snow sports equipment category. The direct store of Nobaday in Beijing's Chaoyang Joy City also achieved good revenue in the recently concluded snow season. To date, Nobaday's physical stores have spread both domestically and internationally, with 17 stores opened in China, concentrated in first-tier cities and core ski resorts, four located in comprehensive commercial centers, and 13 situated in indoor and outdoor ski resorts.

Currently, Aoxue Culture has obtained one invention patent and 24 utility model patents and successfully applied for the status of a national high-tech enterprise in 2023. It is understood that in the future, Aoxue Culture will allocate at least one-third of its funds to scientific and technological research and development, enhancing the quality and efficiency of product R&D and testing with the aid of AI technology.

Liu Fengxi believes that for a skiing brand, brick-and-mortar stores should not only handle sales and after-sales services but also create a "chemical reaction" with consumers. Therefore, the focus of Nobaday stores is not on sales volume but on follow-up services. Its shopping mall stores emphasize image presentation, organizing activities, and creating an atmosphere, such as conducting equipment training sessions and leading group skiing trips for beginners; while ski resort stores focus on remote storage, ski equipment maintenance, and resort reception, arranging services such as hotels, lift tickets, and lessons.

At present, Aoxue Culture faces two major opportunities. First, the domestic snowboard market has enormous potential, with both the number of snow enthusiasts and the infrastructure of ski resorts on the rise. Culturally, public awareness of skiing has significantly increased after the Beijing Winter Olympics; in terms of hardware facilities, high-quality resources such as those at Xinjiang's ski resorts can transform the desire to travel abroad into domestic demand, driving industry growth. Nobaday is also aspiring to become a full-category snowboard brand. "Looking around both domestically and internationally, it is rare to find a brand that offers a full range of products centered around snowboarding, such as snowboards, snowboard bindings, snowsuits, and helmets," said Yang Haiwei.

Another opportunity is that the outdoor industry, represented by skiing, is also showing a positive development trend, and Aoxue Culture is gradually expanding into the broader outdoor equipment market. On one hand, Nobaday has rich experience and technical reserves in product design, supply chain, and fabric technology; on the other hand, there is a high overlap between the outdoor sports enthusiasts in activities such as cycling, camping, fishing, mountaineering, and off-roading, and snow sports users.

Currently, Aoxue Culture has over 1000 SKUs in categories such as skiing, outdoor, camping, surfing, and Lifestyle, covering products like snowboards, outdoor clothing, land surfboards, skateboards, and camping equipment.

In terms of team structure, in addition to Liu Fengxi and Yang Haiwei, the company also has four major collaborative modules: product research and development, integrated marketing, channel sales, and comprehensive operations. It has successively brought in four vice presidents with rich management experience from different industries for systematic management. It is reported that to further accelerate the layout of all channels, Aoxue Culture's B round of financing is also in active progress.