Allbirds Lands $100 Million Round
|Joey Zwillinger, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Allbirds.
Allbirds, a popular footwear company that makes shoes from sustainable materials, has secured $100 million in Series E funding led by asset management company Franklin Templeton. The new round adds up the total amount of funding raised by Allbirds to more than $200 million and values the company at $1.7 billion, up slightly from $1.4 billion when it raised funding in 2018. Allbirds says it’ll use the new funding to expand its burgeoning network of physical retail outlets as well as its existing direct-to-consumer sales operation. Allbirds was founded only four years ago but has in a relatively short time garnered a large following and brand loyalty, a key attraction for the company being its environment-friendly shoes made from bioplastics gotten from sources such as sugar cane plants and recycled plastic bottles.
Allbirds represents a veer-off in a footwear industry that largely adopts petroleum-based materials to make products. The San Francisco-based company, a certified B Corp, has said that it works to keep its entire operations even outside its shoe-making as eco-friendly as possible.
Allbirds traces its origin to a research grant from the New Zealand wool industry given to the company’s co-founder Tim Brown, himself an athlete who was previously vice-captain of the New Zealand football team. After receiving a grant and putting it towards research, Brown further debuted his idea on Kickstarter and teamed up with another co-founder and biotech engineer by the name of Joey Zwillinger. Since its formal inception in 2016, Allbirds has grown rapidly, currently with retail stores in countries including the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and China.
Before this Series E, Allbirds was backed by investors including notable names like Slow Ventures, Fidelity, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Baillie Gifford, T. Rowe Price, and entrepreneur Mark Vadon.