Cathie Anderson

El Dorado Hills firm uses new online public offering to seek investors

SlideBelts CEO Michelle Taylor examines a factory sample of a belt with her company’s logo at the SlideBelts facility in El Dorado Hills in 2014.
SlideBelts CEO Michelle Taylor examines a factory sample of a belt with her company’s logo at the SlideBelts facility in El Dorado Hills in 2014. The Sacramento Bee file

Looking to fund its continued expansion, El Dorado Hills’ SlideBelts is using a new crowdfunding campaign to raise $150,000 to $1 million in capital from investors through an online public offering.

The company alerted customers to its offering Wednesday, and already, it has raised more than $168,000 from 104 investors. There are 85 days left for this crowdfunding effort. The minimum investment is $250; the maximum, $100,000.

Company founders Brig and Michelle Taylor declined to comment for this article, saying that they were exercising an abundance of caution in light of complex government rules governing what they can say. The SlideBelts offering is being done under the 2012 JOBS Act, an acronym that stands for Jumpstart Our Business Startups. Although the law was signed in 2012, the SEC only completed rules to put it into effect in May 2016.

In a note to potential investors at slidebelts.com, the Taylors said: “We constantly innovate both our products and our business strategies, utilizing any & all tools necessary for driving growth — while never forgetting the fundamentals. Innovation is the only way for a company to not only survive, but THRIVE. What better way to thrive, than to utilize the JOBS Act, which the United States very recently signed into law. The Jumpstart Our Business Startup (JOBS) Act allows, for the first time, everyday consumers to invest in startups.”

Inc. magazine named SlideBelts one of the 500 fastest-growing businesses in the United States last year. The company reported revenue of $6.5 million in 2016, compared with $2.9 million a year earlier. Its leaders project that they will post $10 million in revenue this year.

SlideBelts is doing its online campaign through a company called StartEngine, co-founded by Activision co-founder Howard Marks. On March 16, Marks wrote a blog post to update where things stand: “In the first 7 months starting on May 2016, collectively 33 companies have raised over $10M in capital, it is now clear this new way to raise capital is working...”

Fitness chain expands: Minnesota’s Life Time, which already has one of its high-end health clubs in Roseville, opened a second one in Folsom on Thursday. Founder and CEO Bahram Akradi described the facilities to me as a cross between an outdoor resort and a full-blown athletic country club.

“It has beautiful spas, beautiful pools, lots of programming for children, indoor and outdoor pools, swim lessons, everything you can possibly want,” Akradi says. “There are even medical practices in these for chiropractic and physical therapists. We offer a full gamut of healthy living, healthy aging, healthy environment, nutrition, weight loss. With that, we look for markets with the more affluent customers who appreciates a Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton style of programs and services.”

Akradi started Life Time in 1996 and took it public in 2004. But in 2015, Texas Pacific Group, LNK Partners and other private-equity investors offered $4 billion for the firm and took it private. Akradi rolled his equity stake into the new company and remained as the CEO.

He visited the Folsom club for the grand opening on Thursday, leading a spin class. The club, Life Time’s 123rd facility, is at 110 Healthy Way, though online maps still use the old address of 110 Serpa Way.

“We’re definitely a higher-priced facility in any market we go to,” Akradi said. “We don’t necessarily decide to be the highest priced, but we deliver a service and a program, a facility that requires us to charge what we charge to make things work. The customer we seek is the customer who has the ability to a) appreciate that, and b) can pay that.”

The company, based just outside the Twin Cities in Chanhassen, Minn., has about $2 billion to $2.5 billion worth of development in the works, Akradi said. Over the next 36 to 40 months, he said, Life Time expects to open probably 40 more facilities at an average of about one a month.

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee

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