2021, that's a wrap 🍾 The end of the year marks our first year in operation, and what a year it’s been!
2021 saw us take Gales to market, launch new colorways, as well as receive a number of accolades that have spurred on our exciting growth!
But first, a little background: Gales was created in 2020 when founder and CEO, Rob Gregg set out to design the first Smart PPE Footwear® of its kind designed specifically for nurses. It’s been a crazy ride for us, so in the spirit of the Spotify end of year wrap ups all over social media, we wanted to do our own 2021 recap to celebrate a truly great year!
January: Techstars Winter Class of 2021
We started 2021 with a bang by being chosen as one of 11 startups in the Techstars Boulder Class of Winter 2021.
Founded in 2007, Techstars annually picks a select few companies to join their network of mentors and advisors. Startups featured in Techstars are chosen because they are going the extra mile to solve key problems facing a variety of different consumers. Techstars accepts less than 1% of applicants, so we couldn’t have been more excited to join 10 other startups on the road to accelerated growth!
June 2021: Meet Gales!
The first pairs of Gales became available to preorder in June 2021, but the road to market started back in 2020. Gales was born at the very beginning of the pandemic as a way to give back to the frontline workers working tirelessly treating COVID-19 patients. As hospitals were overrun and conditions were becoming increasingly unsafe, we identified the need for a protective, waterproof, low-maintenance shoe that provides all day comfort and support at a reasonable price.
Founder Gregg used his ten plus years of experience in shoemaking design and production to get to work to design a shoe specifically for nurses. When creating Gales, it was essential that we enlisted the feedback from the very people in the trenches, so we worked in collaboration with hundreds of nurses from around the country, and Director of Nurse Entrepreneurship and Innovation Rebecca Love, to ensure our shoes tackle any and all concerns they expressed.
This feedback was crucial in designing Gales, and we were proud to release the first Smart PPE Footwear® for nurses that’s equipped with tons of protective and comfort-promoting features, including removable and washable Ortholite® insoles that give all-day, cloud like comfort, slip-resistant technology and an antimicrobial barrier that stops dangerous liquids and infections from seeping in.
August 2021: #Gales4Nurses
August saw our first pairs being shipped out, and as a way to further thank nurses for all that they do, we wanted to find a way to give back. That same month, we launched the #Gales4Nurses competition, where nurses from around the country were invited to nominate either a coworker or themselves to receive a lifetime supply of Gales.
We asked applicants to submit a short video and essay on what being a nurse means to them, or about an inspirational coworker that goes the extra mile. We received a ton of entries, and we’re truly moved by the number of stories we heard from nurses all around the country. After hearing her inspiring account of how she used her own health battles to fuel her love of nursing, and in September, we were thrilled to gift Tyler Bedley with a lifetime supply of Gales footwear!
Additionally, 7 other applicants also received a year's supply of Gales. When launching our shoes, it was important to us that, above all else, we remained true to our mission of supporting nurses in any way that we can. Our #Gales4Nurses initiative shone a light on the sheer amount of nurses out there with incredible stories, and we’re committed to continuing to build a community of nurses and other healthcare workers to share their stories.
October 2021: Most Fundable Company
In October, we were honored to receive Platinum recognition on the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School's fourth annual Most Fundable Companies® List. Out of ut over 3,300 early-stage US companies who applied, Gales was only 1 of 3 to be chosen to receive this level of accolade!
As a winner on the Most Fundable Companies List, Gales was also featured in the December issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. “The Most Fundable Companies event recognizes promising companies who have gone through rigorous financial vetting and scrutiny from world-renowned experts,” said Deryck J. van Rensburg, dean of the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. “This list of companies should be on the radar for funders who are looking for what's new and what's next.”
November-December 2021 : New Mint & Lavender Colorways
Our goal has always been to provide nurses and other healthcare workers with a safe, easy shoe that can give them peace of mind, but that doesn't mean we can add a little style in there, too! Gales originally launched with 4 neutral colorways: black, white, navy and gray. Since then we have added 2 bright new colorways: mint and lavender.
These bright new additions to the Gales line up are available for men and women in a wide range of full and half sizes, and we’re working on more shades scheduled to drop in 2022. Like all of our shoes, the new Gales colorways are made from antimicrobial, easy to clean, comfortable, and slip resistant material, so you can add a little pop of color to your uniform and still be protected at the same time!
December 2021: Forbes Next 1,000
To round out an awesome 2021, in December Gales was selected to be a part of Forbes prestigious Next 1,000 list.
Created to shine a light on entrepreneurs from all industries, Forbes’ Next 1,000 list showcases startups founded by innovative entrepreneurs in every region of the country who are “redefining what it means to run a business today”.
And that’s a wrap on 2021 🍾 The last year was one for the books, and that’s just the beginning for Gales. We have a lot of new and exciting things planned for 2022– thank you to our community for making 2021 a great one!