Helping the Footwear Brand Expand its Global Reach
Updated: May 17, 2022
After spending five years building a team, a brand, and a product, Richard Buchanan found himself at a turning point. The CEO and founder of Biion Footwear had the makings of a major global brand on his hands—including an all-star board, licensing deals with Disney and Warner Brothers, and celebrity endorsements— but he lacked the funding and financial support to execute his market strategy. That’s until his partner, Venture DNA, introduced him to Star Strong Capital.
Buchanan had spent two decades at the helm of a fashion sales and distribution company before getting the itch to create his own brand. “It all started when I forgot my golf shoes for a tournament,” Buchanan said. I was wearing a pair of competitor’s EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) shoes, and ended up playing in them. They were so light and comfortable I had an ‘aha’ moment: If we had a denser EVA for stability and a rubber outsole for grip we would really have something. The rest is history.” Today, Biion is the first and only performance functional EVA shoe on the market that you can golf in, boat in, dine in, and get married in, Buchanan says.
Buchanan credits his board, which includes former presidents and CEOs from Adidas, Puma, and Crocs, for laying Biion’s foundation. Thanks to that strong base and the Biion team’s business savvy, passion and drive, the company has multiple opportunities on the table, including licensing deals with Disney and Warner Brothers and deals with Sony and DJ Khaled. The problem? Buchanan lacked the funding to execute them. “When you don’t have the capital to take advantage of all the fantastic opportunities that Biion has had, it really takes the wind out of your sails,” Buchanan said. “We know we have something truly great—a tiger by the tail if you will. We have run the company for five years on investments from friends and family, and I’m eternally grateful for that, but it was time for a serious induction of capital so we could introduce Biion to the masses.”
Venture DNA, one of Biion’s partners, was aware of the company’s funding challenges, and recommended Star Strong Capital as a solution. Buchanan said he knew after several conversations with the Star Strong team that they were the right partners. “Star Strong not only saw the immediate opportunity, but they also understood our vision and long-term goals. They love the product and our team, and they really want to see us succeed, and that means a lot to us.”
Today, thanks to Venture DNA and Star Strong, Buchanan says he has the funding and financial expertise he needs to take advantage of all the opportunities in front of him, including the licensing deals. While he admits the company would have survived if it hadn’t partnered with Star Strong, he says it would have taken longer to accomplish his goals. “As a brand and a startup, we have had every curve-ball thrown at us. We have had the perseverance we needed to get over the hurdles. People ask what keeps me going. It’s the product—I have never seen a product so infectious in my life. I am humbled that our shoes have graced the feet of so many celebrities including Hall of Famers Barry Larkin and Johnny Damon and entertainers Bruno Mars and Bill Murray and am proud of the thousands of testimonials from consumers all over the globe. Star Strong not only brought us funding to help us execute our market strategy, but also provides us with unwavering support on the financial side. The infusion of capital gives us the fuel to get this over the finish line. I am filled with gratitude that we have long-term partners in Star Strong and Venture DNA.
"This is a new partnership with huge goals. Thus far, Star Strong has helped us on our way to hit our targets."
Next up for the company? Launching Biion Blue, a collection of footwear made from recycled plastic bottles collected from oceans—the company has always been focused on sustainability—and making sure everybody knows about the Biion Footwear brand. “Getting on our soap box and screaming ‘Biion’ s up next for me,” said Buchanan. We’re ready to tell our story to the world and we are well on our way with 15 global distribution companies selling into 32 Countries. Biion is the evolution of Crocs!