New York-based Rockets of Awesome announced today that it has raised a $19.5 million Series C, with the shoe retailer contributing a $12.5 million “minority investment.” The round, which also included participation from existing backers General Catalyst, Forerunner Ventures, August Capital, brings the company’s total funding raised to $49 million since its inception in 2016. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow also previously invested in the company.
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Foot Locker said the investment and related partnership with the startup will help it “enhance its commitment to the kids’ apparel segment, while further diversifying its customer base and expanding its product offerings.”
As part of the investment, Kids Foot Locker will create physical locations that will sell Rockets of Awesome products, which had thus far been only available online. Rockets of Awesome merchandise will also be available on kidsfootlocker.com.
Rockets of Awesome Founder and CEO Rachel Blumenthal (pictured below) told Crunchbase News that the money will also go toward opening the company’s “first standalone retail location.”
“We’ve strategically waited for the perfect moment to enter this stage of our journey and are thrilled to enter a partnership with Foot Locker to leverage their years of expertise in retail..so that we can continue scaling at an exceptionally fast rate,” she wrote via email. “We are very excited to learn from them as we build out our own experience.”
Blumenthal told Crunchbase News that the concept for the company was born out of a previous business endeavor called Cricket’s Circle that offered curated product recommendations and personal shopping services for baby products.
“It was then that I started to identify where the biggest pain points were for moms shopping for their kids and ultimately realized that no one was catering to their clothing needs,” she wrote via email. “I wanted to provide a modern solution for busy moms, which ultimately led to the idea of a curated, automated service focused on children’s apparel.”
Foot Locker Chairman and CEO Richard Johnson said the investment and partnership is part of his company’s efforts to evolve “with the ever-changing retail landscape” and adjust “to the speed” of its customers.
“Rockets of Awesome is advancing the way parents shop for their kids,” he said in a written statement. “We look forward to collaborating with (Rockets of Awesome) on brand development, product collections, and go-to-market plans to help realize additional growth for both companies.”
As mentioned above, the deal is the latest in a flurry of startup investments by Foot Locker. Earlier this month, we covered how Culver City-based GOAT, a fast-growing marketplace for high-end sneakers, had raised $100 million from the Foot Locker retail chain. That deal was also part of a broader plan for the two retailers to combine efforts across digital and physical platforms. Foot Locker also recently put money into women’s activewear brand Carbon38, children’s lifestyle brand Super Heroic, and footwear design academy PENSOLE.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias