Trendy shoe brand Allbirds is reportedly talking with banks with an eye toward an initial public offering (IPO). The New York Times column DealBook said that Allbird, along with Panera, wants to cash in on investor interest in companies that could make it big as the pandemic eases.
Allbirds’ wool shoes have taken off in the techie world of Silicon Valley. The brand’s logo-free shoes are also popular with celebrities, such as investor Leonardo DiCaprio, and even Barack Obama. The company began as a Silicon Valley eCommerce retailer, but has since opened stores.
According to the company’s website, Allbirds has initiated a “new category of shoes inspired by natural materials, and an ongoing mantra to create better things in a better way.”
New Zealand soccer star Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger, an engineer and “renewables expert,” started the company. “One of the worst offenders of the environment from a consumer product standpoint is shoes,” Zwillinger told the Times in 2017. “It’s not the making; it’s the materials.”
Allbirds, which is now based in San Francisco, has raised more than $200 million since 2016. Last September, the footwear company closed on a $100 million round of venture capital. That round — which was led by Franklin Templeton, the San Mateo, California investment firm — reportedly pegged the company’s value at $1.7 billion.
Zwillinger said at the time that the new cash would be used to build stores, add products and fund direct-to-consumer sales operations. “Business can be a force for positive change, and this additional capital will allow us to further our mission of bringing more sustainable products to people around the world,” he said.
Allbirds also introduced a sustainable clothing line last October. Each garment indicates an estimate of how much carbon was emitted in its production. A woman’s T-shirt, for example, emits 6.3kg of carbon during the manufacturing process, and a men’s puffer jacket emits 25kg. The company said the clothing line uses materials that reduce its lifetime carbon footprint.
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