Industry News 2/17/2016

Slyde Handboards Reaches $1 Million Valuation With Help of Bill Walton

Most people know Bill Walton as a basketball Hall of Famer, who brought home two NBA championships, and is now a well-known ESPN sports broadcaster.  But did you know that he also has a passion for helping small businesses succeed?  Bill Walton is the leader and Executive Chairman of San Diego Sports Innovators, an organization with a mission to make San Diego the capital of the Sports and Active Lifestyle (SAL).  Slyde Handboards, was lucky enough to get accepted into SDSI’s esteemed Springboard program and work with Bill Walton directly.  

Before Slyde was accepted into the SDSI Springboard program, we were struggling to find investment.  My business partner (also my husband) and I do not have a business background, so this was an entirely new process for us to learn.  Investors expect you to have a business plan, financial model and a pitch deck, which is no easy task to do on your own.  We ended up hiring a company to do all of this for us since we were so busy running our business.  However, once we started pitching to investors, it was unnatural to pitch a plan we didn’t create ourselves, and when we got asked hard questions, we didn’t know the answers.  

After another failed attempt pitching to the Tech Coast Angels in Orange County, one of the investors suggested we connect with the San Diego Sport Innovators and apply to their Springboard program.  The Springboard is a four month, intensive business accelerator program dedicated to growing the next generation of Sports and Active Lifestyle companies. The Springboard pairs qualified entrepreneurs with a Business Advisor, Marketing/ Branding Domain Expert and a Financial Domain Expert,  all from leading SAL companies, for hands on mentoring.  Therefore, not only did were we mentored by Bill Walton, but we had the support of top executives in our industry. These professionals gave us invaluable help and support in building our business plan, the investor pitch, and most importantly helped us redo our financial model, while actually helping us understand it.

The networking opportunities,  professional insights and relationships made thru SDSI have been absolutely priceless in the success of Slyde Handboards.

Halfway through the Springboard program, my brother was on an airplane working on a new video for our youtube channel and the guy sitting next to him loved what he saw.  Just from the short video of our company, he asked my brother if we were looking for investment and of course my brother knew we were and told him yes.  The next day my brother told me to call this random guy he was sitting next to on the airplane, and I thought to myself, “well, this phone call will be a waste of time.”  Luckily I was wrong - he asked me to send over my business plan, pitch deck and financials and 2 weeks later he invested in us at a one million dollar valuation.  

It’s fair to say without the education and guidance of Bill Walton and the SDSI team of advisors, we probably would still be looking for investment and possibly even out of business.  

For any sports innovators looking to propel their business to the next level, SDSI is one of the greatest opportunities available.  The springboard put us on the fast track to success, as well as created lifelong friendships.

"I had the pleasure of working directly with the Slyde Team and can tell you what they are doing is awesome, fun and innovative.  Slyde Handboards makes surfing easy for everyone no matter what age or skill level. I recommend Slyde to any families heading to the beach this summer!!" Slyde Handboards Mentor Bill Walton.