(CHARLOTTE, NC – May 1, 2017) – North Inlet Capital, LLC is pleased to announce that it has made a strategic growth investment in InRoad Toys, LLC. Managing Partner, Jeff Armstrong, said about the transaction, “We are excited about InRoad Toys’ future and the opportunity to invest alongside Shurtape Technologies. InRoad Toys has developed great products and Shurtape, along with its recently acquired Syntac subsidiary, can provide additional manufacturing and distribution expertise to facilitate further growth and development.” As previously reported, North Inlet Advisors, LLC served as an advisor to Shurtape Technologies in connection with its acquisition of Syntac.
The following article appears in the Washington Business Journal and was written by, Sara Gilgore.
Local toy creator puts pedal to the metal with new funding, big-name partnership
The Maryland entrepreneur who created his own toy industry category with a roll of tape has closed a Series A funding round, led by North Carolina-based Shurtape Technologies LLC, the tape-manufacturing giant behind Duck Tape and other widely used consumer brands.
Andy Musliner, founder and CEO of Crofton-based InRoad Toys, declined to disclose the size of the round, but said the company has raised about $3.5 million to date, including this new backing. When I spoke with him in December 2015, InRoad Toys had raised about $1 million and was in the process of a $500,000 raise.
The company’s flagship product, PlayTape, is a paper tape that resembles roads and tracks for toy cars and trains, and comes in different colors and designs. The partnership with Shurtape not only means “a great partner from an investment perspective, who’s a big company in our space,” Musliner told me, but “gives us a lot of manufacturing capability.”
About nine investors were involved in this round, including Great Falls-based Capital & Advisory Group LLC and Charlotte-based North Inlet Group’s private investment arm, North Inlet Capital.
The business, still young and not yet profitable, had about $600,000 in revenue last year. But Musliner expects that its rapid expansion into more retail — going from a few thousand stores to 12,000 in the span of a few months — could change things. InRoad Toys did nearly as much revenue in the first quarter of 2017 as for all of 2016, he said.
That’s largely thanks to the PlayTape product expanding into more than 3,100 Wal-Mart locations in January. The product, which sells in the $5 ballpark, can also be found in the general merchandise area at Wegmans stores throughout the U.S., and in more than 4,800 O’Reilly Auto Parts locations. Toys R Us and Target will soon join the list of retailers that sell the product, Musliner said.
The toy creator has “a robust pipeline of new products” he’s developing, he said, but he’s staying in the toy tape lane after bringing Hot Wheels PlayTape to market last year. He couldn’t go into specifics, but said new additions to the PlayTape family are slated to launch this fall and next spring. He also hinted they could go beyond roads and tracks.