20VC: The On Running Memo: From Swiss Mountains to NASDAQ IPO: The Story of Three Friends Who Built a Sports Giant with David Allemann, Co-Founder @ On Running

Posted on 31st May 2023 by Harry

David Allemann is the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman @ On one of the fastest-growing global sports brands with over 17 million products sold in 60+ countries. In 2021, On went public on the NASDAQ and today has a market cap of $8.7BN. However, it all started with three friends in the mountains experimenting with making shoes with pieces of garden hose to create a running shoe with a totally different feel.

In Today’s Episode with David Allemann We Discuss:

1. From the Swiss Mountains to NASDAQ IPO:

  • What was the initial a-ha moment for David and his co-founders with On?
  • How did they make the first shoes?
  • What are some of the biggest lessons for David in V1 product build?
  • What does David know now that he wishes he had known at the start? Is naivete always good?

2. The Launch: First Customers:

  • How did On get their first customers?
  • What can products and companies do to instill true customer love in those first customers?
  • What was the hardest element of launching On to their first customers?
  • How does David analyze and use customer feedback? What does he listen to vs not?

3. Retail: Expanding into Own Store vs Partnerships:

  • What are some of David’s biggest lessons in how to make retail partnerships successful?
  • How can brands create amazing experiences for customers in retailers that are not their own?
  • Why did On decide to also have their own stores? How did this change the business?
  • What have been David’s biggest learnings on what it takes to do retail well with own stores?

4. Roger Federer: Working with a Legend:

  • How did the relationship with Roger begin? Where was the first meeting? What was it like?
  • How did Roger come to invest in On? Why did On not want to do the traditional athlete endorsement deal?
  • What role does Roger play in the company today? How does he impact product development?
  • What have been some of the biggest lessons for David from working with Roger?
  • How much of an impact has Roger had on On as a business?

5. Financing, IPOs, and Brand:

  • Does David wish they had raised venture capital sooner?
  • If they had more money sooner in their journey, what would David have invested in earlier?
  • Why did they decide to go public when they did? How has the journey been post being a public company? What changes? What is the same?
  • What brand does Davist most respect and admire? Why? What brand decisions does David most regret? What would he have done differently?

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