Baron Funds Q3 LetterVW Staff
Kevin Plank, Under Armour, Inc.’s founder, had been a college football player. His idea was that he could help athletes improve their performances with technically superior apparel and footwear. Kevin began his business in his basement trying to sell boxes of t-shirts he designed. Talk about not “wanting to know what couldn’t be done.” Kevin expected to one day compete with Nike! It took Under Armour 17 years to reach $1 billion in annual sales, three more to reach $2 billion. Kevin recently noted that he feels “like he’s running a $10 billion revenue business that has $2 billion sales!” Under Armour’s market capitalization is now more than $8 billion.We have so far earned more than 12 times our initial investment in 2005.
CoStar Group, Inc.’s founder Andrew Florence’s vision was to become the Bloomberg service provider to the $33 trillion commercial real estate industry. CoStar has hired nearly 1000 individuals over the past 25 years to put “feet on the street” to gather this commercial real estate information. The effort has been costly. But, as a result, CoStar data now includes details on space available for lease, properties for sale, current and prospective tenants, comparable sales and industry news. CoStar has become the outsourced research department for the largest brokerage firms and presently has significant pricing and client service opportunities. CoStar’s present market capitalization is $4.8 billion. We have earned more than four times our initial investment made nine years ago.
The vision of Colfax Corp.’s co-founders Mitch Rales and his brother Steven is to create an industrial enterprise having comparable success to their $47 billion market cap Danaher. The “special sauce” of Colfax is a culture that demands continuous operations improvements and excellence in engineering. Colfax manufactures critical parts that are essential to the functioning of large machines. Colfax’ market capitalization is now $5.7 billion. We have so far earned more than two and a half times our initial investment made more than two years ago.