19 Jul IU Ventures Invests In Leap’s $15M Series C Fundraising Round, Accelerating Omnichannel Retail Platform’s Growth
Chicago, Il. — IU Ventures, the venture capital arm of Indiana University, proudly announces its investment into Leap, an innovative omnichannel retail platform company. This $15M fundraise, co-led by existing investors BAM Elevate and Costanoa Ventures, will accelerate Leap’s mission to revolutionize the retail landscape and drive growth with existing and new brands, and enhance the platform’s capabilities.
Next-generation brands have been struggling to effectively scale their online channels, yet physical retail stores require a new skill set. For both reasons, brands are needing to go to omnichannel platforms, which are costly and complex. Co-founders Amish Tolia and Jared Golden experienced this problem firsthand when trying to enter the retail space with their previous company.
“We realized we weren’t the only brand that had this challenge, so we thought there has to be a better way – a way to reduce retail’s barriers to entry with a platform and data at the forefront to ensure we were making the best possible decisions,” said Amish, Co-founder, and Co-CEO of Leap.
By partnering with Leap, brands can enjoy the benefits of having an established and experienced partner handle the day-to-day operations, leaving them to focus on growing their brand and maximizing profitability. Leaps platform provides seamless shopping experiences across all channels, store, mobile, and online, and promotes its products through unified messaging and cohesive visuals.
Amish and Jared have a rich history of collaboration, having met at IU – Kelley School of Business, where they initiated their entrepreneurship with their first company Campus Threadz. They continued their collaboration and entrepreneurship, having founded two more companies, including a spin-out from retail great, Custom Ink, which was later acquired in 2012. Amish and Jared’s deep industry expertise and relentless pursuit of innovation have been instrumental in shaping Leap’s success and transforming the retail landscape.
“We are proud to invest in this financing round with such strong IU DNA,” says Jason Whitney, Chief Venture Officer at IU Ventures. “Amish and Jared’s entrepreneurial journey and partnership, marked by their initial days at IU, is inspiring and the exact type of team and entrepreneurial nature we love to invest in at IU Ventures,” Whitney said.
Since its Series B financing in January 2022, Leap has seen remarkable growth, doubling in network size and revenue. Today, more than 50 brands utilize the Leap Platform to power 100 stores across 11 markets. Their commitment to driving value for brands and assisting their landlord partners in diversifying their retail footprints positions Leap for continued growth in the future.
About IU Ventures:
IU Ventures invests in and supports IU-affiliated early-stage companies. Its investment programs include the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, IU Angel Network, Shoebox Fund, and Innovate Indiana Fund. It further supports IU founders through the Executive in Residence Program and IU Founders and Funders Network. Student support is provided through a variety of engagements, including the new IU Venture Fellows Program. Each program takes unique approaches to accelerate and support the positive impacts that entrepreneurs affiliated with IU already achieve across the world. IU Ventures is a recognized leader in increasing opportunities for diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs and investing in Indiana startups with a shared commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Emily Atkinson, PhD