U.S.-based, privately held solar panel producer Aptos Solar Technology announced a new investor, Jim Holland, co-founder of Backcountry.com and American Olympic ski jumper. Aptos Solar Technology has increased its capacity by 10x since 2020 to support the market demand for its high-performance, all-black solar panels. This rapid growth launched the search for key investors to reinforce capacity ramp up and grow operational capabilities.
“I am proud of the great success our team has accomplished in a short time. The incredible growth and gain of market share in Q4 of 2020 led us on the search for new investors. It was critical that any new partnership would not only bring in the capital for growth but would also boost collaboration and the innovative culture of Aptos. We are thrilled to welcome Jim to our team and excited for the future we will build together,” said Alex Kim, Co-founder & CFO of Aptos Solar Technology.
Jim Holland is recognized for his accomplishments as a ski jumper. Holland won six national championships, competed in two Olympic Winter Games, and reached the podium at the World Cup, a rarity for Americans in this European-dominated sport. At age 26, Holland retired as a competitive athlete and launched the first Backcountry website.
“Jim is a visionary and brings a wealth of wisdom, grit, and creativity to our team. In a time when e-commerce wasn’t a thing, he paved the road. That is exactly the mindset I want to flood our company. I want to dream up and revolutionize solar technology in a way that pushes the boundaries when it comes to performance, reliability, aesthetics, and cost,” said Frank Pham, Co-founder & CEO.
Today, Backcountry.com is the world’s leading online retailer for high-end outdoor gear, but Holland is no stranger to small beginnings. In the mid-90’s when the internet was just becoming mainstream, Backcountry was founded and launched out of Holland’s apartment.
“Seeing the Aptos team in action takes me back to the early days of Backcountry. I really connect with the excitement, energy, and adrenaline involved in innovating to make systems better and better—the thrill of wowing the customer. It is rare to see a team so personally committed and financially vested. Frank leads the way with positivity and innovation and the team’s commitment and collaboration shapes their company culture. They’re winning market share fast. They see the future and are personally betting on their ability to seize this opportunity; they are all in,” said Holland.
In the mid-2000s Holland sold a majority interest in Backcountry.com to Liberty Media, a multibillion-dollar company whose portfolio includes the QVC home-shopping network.
Liberty went on to sell their stake in Backcountry to TSG, a private equity firm, for a reported $350 million in 2015. As a founder, shareholder and Member of the Board, Holland continues to propel the growth of Backcountry by overseeing its expansion and diversifying its e-commerce operations and opening brick-and-mortar retail locations.
In addition to Holland’s entrepreneurial endeavors, he has supported nature preservation and has a passion for sustainability. This pursuit of creating a cleaner future for the planet makes his partnership with Aptos Solar Technology a natural fit.
“It’s been a lifelong mission of mine to have a positive impact on the environment. While I fully support what can be achieved by non-profits, I also recognize that for-profit companies who endeavor to do good can oftentimes have a greater impact than charitable causes because they have the capacity to grow and gain momentum. If they succeed, the profit feeds the momentum,” said Holland.
As a new investor and a part owner of Aptos Solar Technology, Holland brings his business expertise and passion for sustainability at a critical time for the company. Aptos Solar Technology will continue its production capacity ramp-up through the summer of 2022, bringing its total capacity to 600MW annually in support of the demand for its high-efficiency and cost competitive solar panels from the U.S. solar market.
“The Aptos team is well-positioned to succeed. When my wife Analea and I met with them, we were struck by their competence, innovation, and passion. They are gaining momentum fast and we think they stand to disrupt the solar industry and meaningfully move the needle on sustainability,” said Holland.