How Investor Alejandro Betancourt Developed Hawkers into a Multimillion Dollar Company — ValueWalk

Hawkers is a vertically integrated and digital-first sunglasses company based in Spain that opened for business in 2013. From the beginning, the company set its sights on competing with major sunglasses brands Oakley and Ray-Ban. Hawkers achieved that goal in 2016 by raising significant funding from multiple investors.

A Brief History of the Hawkers Sunglasses Company

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By offering a reliable product and paying close attention to customer feedback, Hawkers was able to penetrate the competitive sunglasses market and compete with the biggest names in the industry. The success of the company attracted the attention of well-known angel investors like Alejandro Betancourt.

Hawkers Funding Team

How Hawkers Used Its Funding to Create a Worldwide Presence

Hawkers also took the opportunity to expand into new markets starting in 2016. When the company began in 2013, it had annual revenue equivalent to $17.72 million United States dollars. By 2016, that figure had increased to $82.67 million after obtaining funding and pursuing worldwide growth.

Successful Sales Strategies Used by Hawkers

  • Low barrier entry
  • Low wholesale prices
  • Millions of potential customers since most people wear sunglasses outdoors

Hawkers originally sold a brand of sunglasses known as Knockarounds. The Knockarounds brand was growing steadily in the United States at the time but had not yet penetrated markets outside the country.

Once the Hawkers team settled on selling sunglasses, their next step was to set up Facebook ads. Before doing so, they made offers to several young people who were popular on Facebook to act as influencers to their friends.

Each person who agreed to the deal received several free pairs of Knockarounds sunglasses that they photographed themselves wearing and shared on their Facebook accounts. They were so successful selling the sunglasses that the four young entrepreneurs became official Knockarounds distributors in Spain within six months. However, this was not completely satisfying to them because they were still selling someone else’s brand.

Hawkers Sunglasses Began as a Shopify Store

Once established as their own company, the Hawkers team continued the strategy of giving away free sunglasses to people with large numbers of social media followers. They also expanded their word-of-mouth advertising efforts to Instagram. As the company’s growth took off, the management team continued to develop influencer relationships with an added strategy. They allowed influencers to offer their own customers a discount and gave them the opportunity to earn commission on every sale.

Hawkers also developed a Campus Representative program to form partnerships with more than 5,000 college students to act as brand ambassadors. Students spread the word about Hawkers through hosting parties and events. In exchange for their services, students receive free plane tickets and admission to concerts and festivals.

Social Media Selling Is the Biggest Success Factor for Hawkers

Hawkers Leadership Credits Much of Its Success to Alejandro Betancourt

Together, the two leaders have struck deals with other fashion brands. One of the partner companies of Hawkers is El Ganso, a popular clothing line in Spain. Betancourt and Puig were also instrumental in expanding the Hawkers market across Asia, Europe, and North America.

Alejandro Betancourt became the majority owner of Hawkers in 2018 when he increased his investment by $23.62 million dollars. He now holds 50 percent control of the company’s capital. Although he has experienced tremendous success helping to grow the Hawkers brand, Betancourt understands that success does not always come easily. His advice to other would-be entrepreneurs is to expect setbacks but not to let them get in the way of pursuing their dreams.

Originally published at on April 16, 2020.

President of Hawkers Co. | International businessman, based in London, UK | Learn More: or

President of Hawkers Co. | International businessman, based in London, UK | Learn More: or