Introducing Avoli: The First Brand Dedicated Exclusively to Women and Girl Volleyball Athletes

13 June 2023

Avoli, the first, and only, athletic brand dedicated exclusively to the performance needs and aspirations of women and girl volleyball athletes, today announced its official launch with the support of notable investors who recognize the brand’s tremendous potential in the rapidly expanding landscape of girls’ volleyball. While the sport currently is the number one participation team sport for girls in the U.S., until the launch of Avoli there has not been a brand offering performance volleyball products made exclusively for women and girls.

Avoli was founded by Rick Anguilla and Mark Oleson, former athletic footwear and apparel executives with extensive experience at renowned brands such as adidas, Lululemon, Nike and Under Armour. With a deep understanding of the market, Avoli’s founders and a women-led design team are focused on creating specialized footwear, apparel and equipment tailored to the unique requirements of modern women and girl volleyball players.

“Girls’ volleyball participation is experiencing a remarkable surge,” said Anguilla, Co-founder, Avoli. “Simply put, these athletes are underserved. Along with our early investors, we firmly believe we are poised for an exceptional opportunity to be the first and only company to cater to the needs of these dedicated athletes.”

“As fathers of daughters who play the sport, Rick and I couldn’t help but notice that many of these volleyball athletes were wearing men’s basketball shoes on the volleyball court,” said Oleson, Co-founder, Avoli. “Not only do men’s basketball shoes lack in meeting the demands of the unique movements of volleyball, but ignore the physiology differences between men and women athletes which can prevent injury and optimize performance. They’re very different games when it comes to the feet, especially since volleyball players in an average game jump and land two to four times more than their basketball counterparts.”

According to a report from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), girls’ high school volleyball participation has increased 15% since 2022 and the number of girls playing at the club level has driven participation to record levels. In addition, on August 30th, Nebraska, one of the top NCAA volleyball schools in the U.S. is hosting a “Volleyball Day in Nebraska” – an outdoor tournament at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Already, the event has sold 83,000 tickets and is closing in on setting the overall one-day global women’s sports attendance record of more than 90,000. All this rapid growth has sparked interest in the development of professional leagues, including the Pro Volleyball Federation, Athletes Unlimited and League One Volleyball.

The angel investors who have made personal investments in Avoli come from the arenas of tech, consumer products, volleyball, and footwear manufacturing and innovation. They include:

  • Ho Nam, Managing Director and Co-Founder at Altos Ventures whose investment portfolio included Roblox and Coupang. Before joining Altos Ventures in 1996, Ho worked at Silicon Graphics and Octel Communications. Ho began his VC career at Trinity Ventures in 1990 and began his professional career at Bain & Company where he advised clients in the Media and Technology industries on product and corporate strategy.
  • Blythe Jack, former Managing Director at both TSG Consumer Partners and Rosewood Capital (led investments in Under Armour, Canyon Bicycles, Dutch Bros,, BrewDog, IT Cosmetics, among others).
  • Pete Saperstone is currently a Partner at Greycroft Partners. Prior to Greycroft, Pete was a Managing Director in the Private Markets group at Fidelity, leading investments in Fanatics, Sweetgreen, ON Running, Endeavor, ACV Auctions, and Stepstone among others. Earlier in his career at Fidelity, Pete was the lead portfolio manager on FA Mid Cap Fund, Fidelity Fifty Fund and VIP Consumer Contra Fund.
  • James Gau, ShoeBot, footwear innovation & manufacturing, Dongguan, China
  • Shane Stent, High School and Club Volleyball Coach, Silicon Valley

These distinguished investors bring a wealth of experience, industry insights and strategic guidance that will help propel Avoli towards its mission – helping women and girl volleyball athletes realize their full potential.

Avoli will launch a sales and marketing campaign in July featuring top collegiate volleyball athletes to unveil its first product, a made-for-women volleyball shoe.

About Avoli

Born in Portland, Oregon, Avoli (Ah Volley) is the only brand dedicated solely to the needs and aspirations of women and girl volleyball athletes. Founded in 2023, Avoli creates volleyball footwear, apparel and equipment designed specifically to meet the needs of women and girl athletes on the volleyball court, while amplifying the culture of volleyball.

Beth Gast
[email protected]
Ph: 503.702.4405