After years of playing in the Canadian Football League in extreme weather conditions and, subsequently, with very cold hands, former Calgary Stampeders receiver Johnny Forzani had enough.
Both high-performance athletic clothing and heated apparel existed on the market at the time, but no product combined the two in a lightweight, sleek design that could be worn both on the field and in the stands.
“I saw a window of opportunity. There was a need for this type of product in cold weather sports.” So Johnny went overseas and built a few prototypes. Then, he got in touch with former NCAA Division 1 golfer, senior tech executive, and childhood best friend Jesse Galvon. Jesse was blown away by the idea.
“When John first showed me his original prototypes, I knew he was on to something big. Being able to start a company with one of your childhood best friends and to build and work with a great team is a dream come true.”
Both Johnny and Jesse decided to dedicate themselves full-time to their vision, and after some time in the lab and endorsements from Lydia Ko, the world’s #1 ranked woman golfer, and Grey Cup-winning quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, the duo decided to take their brand to the next level.
“Earlier this year I pitched the brand on Dragons’ Den, and was upset to find out Arlene had left the show,” reflects Jesse. “Luckily, we ended up being introduced to her through a contact in the District Ventures Accelerator.”
A few redesigns and one rebrand later, Galvani Tech Apparel was born.
“Having Arlene Dickinson and Venture Communications as partners was exactly what we needed to get our brand to market,” says Jesse. “Galvani means everything to me. Being able to get up every day and do what you love with a team of passionate, motivated people…it doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me.”
When thinking about the pivotal moment in the brand’s history, Johnny likes to believe it’s a matter of a good, healthy partnership based on respect, shared values, and a mutual desire to succeed.
“Partnering with Arlene has been instrumental in propelling Galvani to the next stage. The entire team at Venture Communications has been a dream to work with.”
Thanks to a number of new products in the pipeline and a growing fan base of people who love their Galvani hand warmers, the sky really is the limit for the duo. And according to Venture’s Chief of Staff, Justin Burrows, this is just the beginning.
“When we consider a company for the accelerator program at District Ventures, or taking them on as a client at Venture, we look at traditional indicators of success, like product-market fit, distribution and sales, but we also consider the intangibles: things like drive, dedication, and innovative thinking. Johnny and Jesse bring all of those qualities and a level of competitiveness to the table. I’m confident that together, we'll build a globally competitive company based right here in Calgary.”