Great business ideas are born when “good enough” products just won’t cut it. And that’s exactly why entrepreneur Oliver Steffen started manufacturing backcountry skiing safety equipment in his North Vancouver garage over twenty years ago.
With a successful history of industry leading innovation and product development – ranging from skis, splitboards, climbing skins, AT and telemark bindings and avalanche safety tools – G3 Genuine Guide Gear Inc. is positioned to extend its product range and brand. “We’re committed to providing the very best technical gear for performance and safety,” explains Oliver. “We constantly look for ways to make our gear lighter, easier, more reliable.”
The fast-growing backcountry skiing and snowboarding market have accelerated G3’s sales. In order to keep up with demand, it needed a financial partner to ensure it was able to keep up the momentum. “Managing our growth has been our biggest challenge; running the business while simultaneously pursuing new opportunities. There are growing pains when you go from a small business to a medium-sized one, and it takes the right financing to make that leap,” shares Oliver.
An introduction to First West Capital paved the way for a partnership to support G3’s goals by providing customized growth financing. “We decided to work with First West Capital because they were willing to be creative and were very clear on what they do best – addressing our funding gap with speed and certainty. I appreciated that we aligned so well culturally in that respect,” Oliver states. “They engaged us in the entire process and as a result we were able to have a long-term view of where the business was headed and what we needed to get there.” Greg Smith, Senior Associate at First West Capital, and G3 worked collaboratively – with the support of its senior lender – to ensure the unconventional deal structure was solidified on a tight timeline. Greg explains, “Due to the nature of the longer sales cycle and the seasonality of the business, flexibility was paramount.” He adds, “G3 checks all the boxes – strong brand and vision, niche position in a growing market segment and deep technical expertise.
It was a pleasure working with Oliver and his team, they were very accessible and had an impressive knowledge of all the aspects of the business.” Oliver offers advice to other growing businesses, “Find good partners – and that applies beyond financing. Don’t commit yourself to people who don’t get your business.” Moving forward G3 plans to continue to grow the business through innovation and new product development, improving its channels and online presence, and nurturing distributor relationships around the world.
“Now that we have a successful financing solution in place, we can get back to what we do best – improving and enhancing the backcountry experience,” Oliver declares.