Casual Shoe Maker Allbirds Ties Up $50M In Series C Round

Allbirds, a maker of merino wool shoes in casual styles, has raised $50 million in a Series C round of funding, according to Crunchbase data.

The financing brings San Francisco-based Allbirds’ total raised to $77 million since its 2016 inception.

T. Rowe Price led the round, which also included participation from existing investor Tiger Global Management and Fidelity Management and Research Company.   Allbirds plans to use the money toward global expansion efforts, investing in sustainability research and increasing its brick-and-mortar presence around the U.S., according to a written statement.

Co-Founder Joey Zwillinger

The startup currently operates retail locations in San Francisco and New York, and sells direct to customers through its own e-commerce sites in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Next week, the company is opening its first retail store in the United Kingdom in Covent Garden neighborhood of London, as well as launching operations and shipping throughout the U.K.

Allbirds in 2019 plans to open more U.S. locations and expand into Asia, with the plan of leveraging both e-commerce and physical retail to introduce the brand in the region.

“Climate change is the problem of our generation and the private sector has a responsibility to combat it,” said Joey Zwillinger, co-founder and co-CEO, in a press release. “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.”

Earlier this year, Crunchbase News’ Joanna Glasner reported that over the past year-and-a-half, investors had tied up roughly $170 million in an assortment of shoe-related startups, according to an analysis of Crunchbase data. The vast majority was shown going to sellers and designers of footwear that people might actually want to walk in.

As Joanna reported, it should be noted that recent footwear funding activity comes on the heels of some positive developments for the shoe industry. One recent report pegged the global footwear market at $246 billion in 2017, with annual growth rates of around 4.5 percent.

Crunchbase News updated this post on Oct. 12, 2018, as we learned more about the round. An earlier version of this post misstated Allbird’s founding year. It has been corrected.

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