The sports business executive joins the organization to drive growth and create the premier marketplace for cyclists
CHICAGO and BOULDER, Colo., Feb. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Velo, a recently formed online retailer of cycling equipment and accessories, announced today that Paul McAfee has been named CEO and President. McAfee is responsible for driving the organization’s growth through exceptional consumer experiences and as a trusted partner to cycling brands. Velo, formed by Sterling Partners (“Sterling”), a growth-oriented investment management firm, is comprised of two storied cyclery companies, Planet Cyclery and Colorado Cyclist.
The Velo family of retailers sell bicycles, components, and accessories through their online and brick-and-mortar stores. As a retailer serving the cycling community, Velo focuses on understanding and serving customers through deep, long-term relationships, exceptional content, and unmatched product breadth including brands SRAM, Shimano, and Fox Racing. Velo also develops relationships with both established and up-and-coming brands to maintain a wide array of products for its customers across the cycling ecosystem.
McAfee brings to Velo two decades of experience in the business of sports and the outdoors. He joined Velo from STATSports, where he was the President of its North America operations and its Chief Sales Officer. Prior to STATSports, McAfee was a member of leadership teams at two highly respected bicycle and retail brands, Canyon Bicycles and Chain Reaction Cycles. There, he grew the businesses by double digits annually by using key customer insights and focusing on the quality of brand and manufacturer relationships.
Returning to his cycling roots, McAfee is working to enhance the existing Colorado Cyclist and Planet Cyclery sites and transform them into the preferred source of cycling-related products for cyclists across North America. He is integrating and growing the team to maintain its commitment to cycling with its diverse experience and passion for service, customers, community, and the amazing craftsmen that design and produce their products. Together with the long-tenured teams at Planet Cyclery and Colorado Cyclist and through the buildout of the new Velo brand and e-commerce site, McAfee is building a stronger infrastructure and omni-channel experience for manufacturers and brands to provide best-in-class purchase experiences for riders across the country.
“Working with companies to accelerate their growth is the hallmark of my career and something I am deeply passionate about,” explained McAfee. “Riding bikes and being outdoors, however, is what gets me up every morning. To merge these two passions once again is thrilling. I am focused on working with Sterling to expand the Velo family of brands, bring joy to our customers, and provide a seamless and rewarding experience to our vendors and suppliers as we take our vision forward.”
Velo was formed after its founding organizations, Planet Cyclery and Colorado Cyclery, experienced accelerated growth following a renewed appreciation for the outdoors during COVID-19 and sought a trusted growth partner. Sterling recognized the cycling industry’s potential for disruption and long-term growth. With its decades of experience in e-commerce, business services, and direct-to-consumer businesses, Sterling brings deep expertise to help create a seamless experience from factory to storefront for Velo’s manufacturers, brands, and partners. With trusted storefront brands, Planet Cyclery and Colorado Cyclery, McAfee’s leadership, and Sterling’s support, Velo is building a one-of-kind platform to become a premier distributor of bike parts and accessories for its brands and to create a customer experience across North America that will capture the loyalty of cyclists for years to come.
Added Steven Taslitz, Co-Founder and Chairman at Sterling, “To scale these organizations and tell their story, we needed to find a leader who truly understood the ethos of the brands and respected the industry and craft of cyclery. We’re fortunate that Paul, with his professional accolades and passion for the outdoors, joined Velo.”
About Velo: Velo is the holding company for Planet Cyclery and Colorado Cyclist, both Colorado-based businesses selling bicycles, components, and accessories through online and brick and mortar stores. As a retailer serving the cycling community, Velo focuses on its customer relationships through engagement, content, value, and product breadth. Velo will continue to build out its relationships with both existing and up-and-coming brands to maintain a wide array of products to service consumers across the cycling ecosystem. For more information, please visit https://velo-usa.com/.
About Sterling Partners: Sterling Partners (“Sterling”) is a diversified investment management platform founded in 1983 and based in Chicago. The firm started with four young entrepreneurs, who went on to build one of Chicago’s most prominent private equity firms. Today, the firm has expanded beyond its strong private equity practice into several other investment strategies. Complementing its institutional fund practice, Sterling invests in a wide variety of companies in various stages of growth – from early-stage, high-growth businesses to mature, profitable companies – on a deal-by-deal basis. These investments cross several industries, and the firm makes control, non-control, and preferred equity investments. Sterling adds value to its portfolio companies and the founders with whom it partners with its entrepreneurial roots, deep domain expertise, focus on transformational growth, and access to world-class executive talent. For more information, please visit www.sterlingpartners.com.