There is nothing serial about entrepreneurs Andy Laats and Chad DiNenna.
The duo started Nixon, a sports watch and accessories company, in Encinitas in 1998 when DiNenna couldn’t find a surfing watch he liked.
Billabong acquired Nixon in 2006 for approximately $55 million and a deferred payment of approximately $76 million in FY 2012, but Laats and DiNenna stayed on as employees to guide the brand. Then in 2012, Billabong sold half its share to private equity firm Trilantic Capital Partners, a private equity firm, with Laats and DiNenna also taking stakes in the new joint venture company, now valued at roughly half a billion.
Laats and DiNenna talk about how they got past some initial bumps and why being located in the same neighborhood as the world’s best surfers and skateboarders is essential to Nixon’s success.
HQ: Encinitas, CA
Year Founded: 1997
Annual sales: Not disclosed
Growth in sales: Not disclosed
Operations elsewhere: Watch manufacturing in China and Switzerland.
Outlets: Distributed in more than 70 countries. Retail stores in Berkeley, Bali and 2 locations in Australia.