Upcoming events

Follow Us

Log in

Rupt Ventures Names Latest VC Investment

26 Jun 2024 4:05 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

Rupt Ventures – the venture arm of Austin, Texas-based Rupt (PPAI 826757, Standard-Base) – has announced its third strategic investment in the promotional products industry: Swanky Badger (PPAI 813397, Standard-Base).

Launched a decade ago after founder and CEO Mark Hanratty couldn’t find meaningful tokens of appreciation for his groomsmen, the San Diego-based supplier of high-quality, personalized gifts pivoted to promo in 2022.

Since then, Swanky Badger has seen significant growth, particularly in barware and leather goods, thanks to its distinctive one-piece minimum, on-demand, quick-turn model.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Rupt Ventures as we embark on this next chapter of growth,” Hanratty says. “Its expertise and resources will enable us to expand our reach as the industry evolves, and more and more end-users come to see the immense value in personalization and intentional gifting.”

Supporting Innovation

Jason Lucash, CEO of Rupt, reached out to Hanratty after several distributors sang the latter’s praises, recommended his products and said that the two were “cut from the same entrepreneurial cloth.” Lucash instantly saw the potential to help Hanratty scale in the promo sector.

“Swanky Badger epitomizes the core values of Rupt Ventures: innovation, speed and entrepreneurial excellence,” Lucash says. “Mark’s vision and dedication to creating meaningful gift experiences with no minimum align perfectly with our mission. We’re excited to support Swanky Badger’s growth and amplify its impact in the promo industry and beyond.”

At The PPAI Expo 2024, Lucash and his longtime business partner Mike Szymczak came out of retirement to introduce Rupt, the first supplier whose entire product line is made from recycled materials.

  • The duo previously co-founded Origaudio, which they sold to HPG in 2018.

The industry veterans have a full five-year financial roadmap, developed with help from a big four accounting firm, to support expanded staffing, more new products and investments. Meanwhile, Rupt Ventures is a side play that will pour VC money into a stable of other suppliers dedicated to sustainability and/or innovation, with exponential growth potential.

Lucash says that Swanky Badger exemplifies these values, offering a singular approach to corporate gifting through its unique focus on creating emotional connection through personalization.

Strategic Partner

With the backing of Rupt Ventures, Swanky Badger plans to accelerate its expansion efforts, enhance its product offerings and strengthen its sales and marketing initiatives to reach a broader audience.

The investment will also enable the firm to further strengthen its commitment to philanthropy. Inspired by his own family’s experiences, Hanratty established a give-back program where a portion of every sale is donated to Children’s Hospitals across the United States.

  • In 2023, Swanky Badger donated more than $30,000 to Children’s Hospitals.

“Our Children’s Hospitals do the most amazing work, saving thousands of kids’ lives every single day,” Hanratty says. “But they’re under-funded and rely heavily on donations to be able to provide the care that they do. We have a platform that gives us the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Lucash adds that this partnership highlights Rupt Ventures’ commitment to supporting innovative ventures that emphasize progressive thinking and exceptional quality within the promo industry.

“Swanky Badger will now be part of the bigger Rupt umbrella similar to Sweeter Cards and Desk Plants, so you can expect shared booths at The PPAI Expo,” Lucash says. “We’ll also be cross utilizing our sales team and creative team to scale the brand and providing Swanky Badger back-office support to help scale the business.”

Written by: John Corrigan

Published with Permission from PPAI

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software