The storied Italian brands Cinelli and Columbus have a new majority investor thanks to the venture capital firm of Asobi Ventures.
Gruppo Srl, the parent company of the Italian bicycle manufacturer and renowned tube manufacturer Columbus announced the deal with the Texas-based investment group this morning, simultaneously revealing a CEO change in Marcello Segato
Segato is an experienced manager and entrepreneur in the mobility sector who served for more than 20 years in CEO positions of both larger companies and start-ups. Since February 2020, Segato has been a consultant to Gruppo and Antonio Colombo, focused on developing the company’s strategic plan and laying the foundations for the company’s next chapter of growth.
Antonio Colombo stated, “It’s hard and challenging to hand over 100 years of legacy and of great satisfaction. I did so when I recognized in Victor Luis the perfect understanding of my vision of merging cycling with art design culture technology and competition, combined with an undisputed and proven managerial and organizational ability. “I have seen the future and the future is now” and I am happy to still be aboard this two-wheeled spaceship to explore the galaxies of the New Cycling, still in the wake of the “Grande Ciclismo” traced by my father Angelo Luigi and by the genius of the great champion, visionary entrepreneur and founder of the first Pro riders association, Cino Cinelli.
“I am sure that with Victor’s vision and with the leadership of Marcello Segato as our CEO, our teams and business will flourish for another century. I look forward to having them as my partners in this next chapter and supporting them as we continue to build on the strong foundations and heritage of our wonderful brands.
After take-over, Antonio Colombo will stay in the same position as managing Art Direction of the two brands. “I am happy to remain on board the company to explore the future of ‘New Cycling’. However, I am still in the wake of the ‘Grande Ciclismo’ traced by my father Angelo Luigi and by the genius of the great champion, visionary entrepreneur and founder of the frst Pro riders association, Cino Cinelli.
Asobi Ventures is a family owned investment vehicle that has led the development of several luxury and premium brands globally across Asia, North America and Europe. Luis served as the chief executive officer and on the board of directors of Tapestry, Inc. (formerly known as Coach, Inc.) (NYSE: TPR) from 2014 to 2019. Most recently Luis announced an investment in Moose Knuckles Canada the Montreal based luxury outerwear and sportswear brand where he has taken an active role as Executive Chairman. Luis is also an independent director of listed companies Deckers Outdoor Corp. and Farfetch Ltd.
Victor Luis added “We take very seriously the responsibility of ownership of these two extraordinary brands and the leading role they have played in the design, technology and culture of cycling. I look forward to supporting Antonio’s vision and the work of the talented teams of Gruppo as we grow new markets and take advantage of the very positive global trends in cycling, health and outdoor. Gruppo has strong roots as an Italian manufacturer and the recent issues in the global supply chain have only reinforced our commitment to Italian know-how and craftsmanship.”
Parent Gruppo Srl dates to 1919 with the founding of Columbus tubing, a leader in the production of precision steel tubes for aviation, modern furniture and the finest bicycle brands. In partnership with Asobi Ventures, Cinelli and Columbus plan to expand their footprint with the finest bike dealers globally while building on the foundations established in accessories and apparel.
Cinelli was founded in 1947 by Cino Cinelli, a former professional racer. In 1979 Cino retired and sold the company to the young industrialist Antonio Colombo, son of Angelo Luigi Colombo, founder of Columbus. Antonio Colombo sees the bicycle as the most efficient and beautiful means of transport ever invented and sets himself the goal of communicating this perfection to the general public through art and design. Cinelli has always been a pioneer in technology and design. Columbus was founded as A.L. Colombo in 1919 by Angelo Luigi Colombo. Next to architecture and aviation, Columbus has been a leading tube supplier to legendary brands such as Bianchi, Maserati, Ferrari and Lancia. Besides steel, Columbus played a pioneering role in the design of the first carbon forks in the 90s, a research that continues to this day.
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