Stance Raises $50 million in VC Funding

Stance, a San Clemente, Calif.­–based company that helped build a market for fashion socks at streetwear and surf and skate retailers, raised $50 million in venture capital funding, according to media reports.

According to the Wall Street Journal, venture firms August Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led a $50 million investment in the socks maker.

Stance has made socks bearing images of NBA stars such as Dwayne Wade, who was an early investor in the brand. The company also made socks with unique designs such as bandannas, camouflage and geometric prints. Stance makes socks for men, women and children.

Jeff Kearl, Stance’s founder, said he would use the new funding to finance an expansion into new categories such as underwear and building six branded stores in the next year. All of the branded stores will have a different appearance and all will serve as research centers to study which Stance products get the best reception from customers.

Stance has been sold at majors retailers such as Nordstrom, specialty retailers such as Pacific Sunwear and Tilly’s, and independent boutiques such as The Well in downtown Los Angeles.

Where many brands offer socks, Stance may be one of the only companies that was able to create a widespread interest in the category, said Aaron Levant, founder of the Agenda trade show. Stance has exhibited at the lifestyle, streetwear and action-sports trade show.

“It changed the conversation around socks,” Levant said. “They put an emphasis and focus on a product that most brands offered almost as an afterthought.”

Before Stance became popular, Levant couldn’t remember a socks brand seeking to exhibit at his more than 10-year-old trade show. For the past 18 months, he estimated seeing 30 submissions for socks brands each season at Agenda.