Upper Park Designs to Resume Focus on Growth Following Acquisition

The popular bag company is recapitalized.

Upper Park Designs, maker of the popular Rebel and Shift bags, has been acquired by Small Cap Ventures, LLC, which will recapitalize the company and develop new product lines.

The founder of Upper Park, Jon Richardson, said that he was no longer able to devote sufficient time to the company without outside support. Richardson has served as the Marketing Director at Discraft since 2018. “It came down to time,” he said. “Where I had time to focus, where I could put money and effort. In order to do good due diligence to all the customers I had, it wasn’t going to work to do crowdfunding for one bag then sell it out, then do crowdfunding for another bag and sell it out.”

Richardson will remain involved with the company predominantly in a product development and design capacity and will retain an equity stake.

Small Cap Ventures is owned by Martin Bispels — who spent 17 years at QVC, where he was involved in mergers and acquisitions as the VP of Business Development — and Jim Harvey, who is involved in international small cap investing. Upper Park Designs is their year-old company’s first acquisition.

“Recently, my business partner Jim and I said, ‘Let’s go find a company that we can help out and take to the next level,'” said Bispels. Upper Park was a great fit: “Customers love the products, love the bags,” he said.

They plan to immediately restart production with a large order of new bags already placed and a bigger expansion of product offerings lined up for 2021. Bispels said that they will continue to focus on creating high quality and innovative bags at a middle tier price point.

Richardson found that in recent months he was increasingly unable to keep up with customer service requests and lacked the capital to invest in keeping bags in stock. The new investment from Small Cap Ventures will allow the company to resume its growth trajectory, he said.

Bispels is not new to disc golf. He quickly had baskets set up around his house when he moved in a few years ago. “Before we had beds in the house, we had disc golf holes on the property,” he said. He’s eager to get involved and work to grow the sport. “It’s not often that you have a brand that is this well-loved,” he said.

Upper Park Designs, which will continue operating under that name, hopes to have bags back in stock by December.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the publisher of Ultiworld Disc Golf. You can contact him at [email protected].

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