When Tyler Haney appeared on the cover of Inc. two years ago, the direct-to-consumer athletic apparel company she founded, Outdoor Voices, was one of the hottest startups in America’s hottest startup city, Austin. At gyms and on college campuses, OV’s signature color- blocked leggings had become a kind of athleisure uniform for the Instagram set. Shortly after our story appeared, The New Yorker followed up with a long meditation on the brand’s appeal. No less than Mickey Drexler, the so-called Merchant Prince who’d turned both the Gap and J. Crew into retail icons, invested in OV, and became its chairman in 2016. OV had 130 employees when Haney appeared on our cover, and by late last year it had opened 11 brick-and-mortar stores around the country. Then came news of internal turmoil.

Outdoor Voices had raised more than $60 million in venture capital, but its latest round, which closed in early 2020, valued the company at only $40 million, compared with $110 million two years earlier. The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and the news site Business of

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