- Robyn Turk |
New York - San Francisco-based sneaker startup Allbirds is preparing to go global. The two-year-old company just received a new 50 million USD in funding from investors T. Rowe Price, Fidelity and Tiger Global, which brings its total funds raised to over 75 million USD, with backings from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Leonardo DiCaprio, Scooter Braun, Maveron and others.
Allbirds is a direct-to-consumer footwear brand founded by New Zealand native Tim Brown along with Californian Joey Zwillinger with the mission to further sustainability within the footwear industry. Brown brought with him an expertise of Merino wool and Zwillinger experience in biotech engineering. The resulting product was a sustainable wool fabric designed specifically for shoes. Their minimalist-designed footwear retails for 95 USD for men and women, and 55 USD for children.
Allbirds currently offers footwear products across menswear, womenswear and childrenswear, and has expanded from solely online retail to operating two brick-and-mortar stores in San Francisco and New York, with a third location opening in London’s Covent Garden next week.
New funding will go towards material innovations
Allbirds intends to use its fresh 50 million USD to expand its sustainable materials initiatives. In addition to its wool-based materials, Allbirds has developed ecological footwear materials from eucalyptus and sugar-based foam. Much of the company’s new funding will go towards research new sustainable materials.
Growing into a household name favored by investors is only half the battle for Allbirds. Its founders are hoping to improve sustainability within the entire footwear industry. The company has made its material developments open sources, allowing other footwear brands to use their sustainable innovations.
“Climate change is the problem of our generation and the private sector has a responsibility to combat it,” said Zwillinger in a statement. “We founded Allbirds as a Public Benefit Corporation, officially writing environmental protection into our charter. This injection of capital will help us bring our sustainable products to more people around the globe, demonstrating that comfort, design and sustainability don’t have to live exclusive of each other.”
Image: Courtesy of Allbirds