Austin's Crux Collective leads $1.5M funding round
Crux Collective, the funding arm of Austin-based Crux Climbing Center, has added gym management tech company Approach to its portfolio.
Driving the news: Approach, which offers a point-of-sale platform, announced Wednesday that it raised $1.5 million in a seed funding round led by Crux Collective.
It's the latest investment by Crux Collective, which launched to invest in locally owned and operated climbing gyms in need of capital and operational resources.
Flashback: Kevin Goradia co-founded the first Crux gym in Austin five years ago but realized it was tricky to raise capital as a locally owned gym, especially during the pandemic.
- Private equity is an option, but Crux and other gyms worry about losing sight of their culture and mission when big firms enter the picture, Goradia told Axios.
- "We had looked for private equity funding in the past, but the things they were asking of us just didn't quite fit our culture," he said. "We said, 'Hey, we can do it ourselves.'"
From there, Crux Collective was born.
- So far, the company has also invested in Southern California's Long Beach Rising and VITAL Brooklyn, a bouldering-only gym with locations in California, Washington and New York.
- "It allowed us to grow our footprint without actually having to do the work we did on the gyms down here in Austin," Goradia said.
Yes, but: Approach, Crux's latest investment, offers a point-of-sale system for gyms. That's part of Goradia's plan to "become a platform company" by housing the different components of a climbing gym under one roof.
What's next: Goradia and his team want to expand Crux Climbing Gyms beyond their two Austin locations, and they're eyeing San Antonio and Pflugerville. After that, "we want to test our theory that Crux can do well anywhere," Goradia said.
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