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How Alejandro Betancourt Lopez Transformed Hawkers Sunglasses Into a Market Leader

Companies / Investing 2021 Aug 21, 2021 - 07:01 PM GMT

By: Sumeet_Manhas

Companies The co-founders of the Hawkers sunglasses brand had already achieved a significant amount of monetary success during its first three years of operation from 2013 to 2016. However, they realized they would need to seek outside funding to stay ahead of the bills and expand their brand beyond their home country of Spain.

The Hawkers team experimented with Kickstarter campaigns in late 2015 and early 2016 with decent success. Seeking approximately $118,000 in United States currency ($100,000 in euros), the team raised almost $225,000 from 9,086 supporters. Alex Moreno, David Moreno, Pablo Sanchez, and Iñaki Soriano, the brothers and friends who originally launched Hawkers, certainly appreciated the support of their backers. They simply realized they would need to go much higher with their funding efforts to meet their business goals.

A picture containing person, sitting, indoor, computer  Description automatically generated

Photo provided by Alejandro Betancourt

Hawkers Sunglasses Brand Launches Its First Series A Funding Round

The Moreno brothers, Sanchez, and Soriano, operating under the parent company name of Saldum Ventures, sought $50 million in funding several months after closing their last Kickstarter campaign. Alejandro Betancourt Lopez led the funding round. The other main contributors were the Spanish social media company Tuenti and an individual investor named Hugo Arevalo. Arevalo later became the executive chairman of Hawkers.

The co-founders of Hawkers used proceeds from the $50 million funding round to expand their operations to the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Germany
  • France
  • Portugal
  • United Kingdom

Hawkers has expanded to numerous other countries since its initial Series A funding round five years ago. Even before Alejandro Betancourt Lopez came on the scene, Hawkers had sold 50 million pairs of stylish sunglasses.

Betancourt Lopez contributed approximately $25 million in American currency to help finance Hawkers in 2018. His investment made him the majority owner, and the co-founders offered him the position of company president a short time later. Alejandro Betancourt Lopez had this to say about his successes and setbacks in his new role: “Never stop trying. You fall down many times. The important thing is to keep getting up.”

Alejandro Betancourt Lopez’s History of Business Success

The current president of Hawkers has earned millions throughout his career thanks to implementing proven marketing strategies and drawing on his education and experience. Lopez Betancourt graduated from Suffolk University in Boston with a double major in economics and international trade and a minor in business administration. He started O’Hara Management, a Spanish asset company, shortly after graduating from college. This is how he formed a connection with the Hawkers sunglasses brand in the first place.

The Growth of Hawkers Under New Leadership

In the three years since Betancourt Lopez became the president of Hawkers, the company has grown from a handful of employees to more than 200. As of late 2021, Hawkers operates physical offices in Barcelona, Spain; Mexico City, Mexico; Los Angeles, California, USA; Hong Kong, China; and Elche, Spain.

The company continues to expand, and it has sold more than 4.5 million pairs of inexpensive designer sunglasses since its founding. Hawkers currently reports revenue of more than $100 million.

The iconic sunglasses brand has come a long way since 2013, the year the four co-founders pooled $300 to invest in their first several pairs of wholesale sunglasses. As exciting as the first three years were for David Moreno, Alex Moreno, Pablo Sanchez, and Iñaki Soriano, the real growth came after they brought Alejandro Betancourt Lopez on as an investor and eventually as company president.

Marketing Strategies That Propelled Hawkers’ Growth

Hawkers has always been primarily an online business, even before Betancourt Lopez joined the company. After seeing the success, the original founders and their first few employees had with Facebook advertising, Alejandro Betancourt Lopez decided to invest even more time and resources into reaching new customers on Facebook.

The sales and popularity of the Hawkers sunglasses brand both grew exponentially under his leadership. The company’s Facebook page has a combined total of 13 million people who have either liked or followed it, with the spread between the two at a nearly 50 percent split. The ability to advertise and operate its distribution channels online saves Hawkers a tremendous amount of money in overhead expenses.

Working through brand ambassadors and the Campus Representative Program has also been a huge marketing success for Hawkers under the leadership of Alejandro Betancourt Lopez. Hawkers pays no cash to operate either of these marketing programs. Brand ambassadors and college representatives receive reimbursement in the form of event or airline tickets, which the company can purchase in bulk at a discount.

Betancourt Lopez insists that the company only select people for the role of brand ambassador who are passionate about Hawkers’ products. The brand ambassadors leverage their large social media to display photos of themselves wearing the sunglasses or accessories and posting information on how they can buy the same thing.

To launch its Campus Representative Program, Betancourt Lopez instructed staff to recruit 5,000 college students to promote Hawkers on campuses across the globe. Partnering with celebrities to endorse its products has also worked well for Hawkers.

In addition to his role as the president of Hawkers, Alejandro Betancourt Lopez has an extensive business portfolio that includes finance, farming, international trade, and real estate.

By Sumeet Manhas

© 2021 Copyright Sumeet Manhas - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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