If you started a company that was valued at $1.4 billion after just two years, you'd probably be pretty proud--of the valuation, your product, and yourself. Allbirds co-founders and co-CEOs Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger are most proud of a piece of foam. It's not just any foam, of course. It's made from sugar cane, and as a result, it's carbon-negative--sugar cane actually sucks carbon from the air. It took two years, a partnership with Brazilian plastic manufacturer Braskem, multiple trips to São Paulo, and millions of dollars to create. Brown and Zwillinger call it "sweet foam." It was, in their minds, a huge deal, but they never meant for it to be a trade secret.
50 Best Inventions of 2018: Shoes That Could Help Save the World
The shoe industry has a big carbon footprint, thanks in part to the fact that many shoe parts—including plastic soles, logos and shoelace tips—are made from petroleum. Retail startup Allbirds is testing an eco-friendly alternative: SweetFoam, a new material made from parts of sugarcane that would otherwise be discarded (thereby releasing climate change–causing carbon dioxide into the air). Allbirds launched SweetFoam earlier this year in a line of flip-flops; it plans to start using the material across its entire product line soon—including its popular wool sneakers, which have sold more than 1 million pairs since their 2016 debut. And in an effort to encourage its competitors to follow suit, the San Francisco–based company has made the technical know-how behind SweetFoam “available to anyone who wants it, without question,” says co-founder Joey Zwillinger.
The Optimized Anti-Style of Allbirds Shoes
The New Yorker - The San Francisco-based brand Allbirds makes shoes so soft and flexible that you can bend them almost a hundred and eighty degrees in your hands. When worn, the lightweight rubber soles flare out at the ball of the foot, creating a slightly geriatric silhouette. The “S-curve tread array” carved into the bottom of the sole is supposed to distribute your weight evenly as you walk; the insoles caress your arches and make walking feel like gliding. The merino-wool fabric, in a variety of neutral and pastel shades, is reminiscent of an expensive Fair Isle sweater, except somehow not at all itchy. It is thin enough that you can see the outline of your toes as you walk. The eight lace holes of the original Allbirds “Runners,” embellished with contrast stitching, have a dad-ish quality to them. The only visible branding is a small tab on the back and a cursive, lowercase “allbirds” carved into the heel. The shoes are, for all my attempts to describe them, excessively nondescript. This is perhaps their biggest innovation. Allbirds are so meticulo
Shoe start-up Allbirds co-CEO on origin story and going brick and mortar
Trendy Sneaker Startup Allbirds Laces Up $1.4 Billion Valuation
Trendy Silicon Valley shoe startup Allbirds Inc. is now valued at $1.4 billion, people familiar with the matter say, after raising new cash from investors. Allbirds, whose sneakers has become hip footwear for striving venture capitalists and celebrities alike, sells two varieties of shoes made of wood or wool. It announced a new $50 million investment round Thursday from backers including T. Rowe Price Investment Management, Fidelity Management and hedge-fund firm Tiger Global Management. The new valuation, which wasn’t publicly disclosed, vaults the San Francisco footwear brand into the closely watched realm of so-called Silicon Valley unicorns, or startups valued at more than $1 billion. It was valued by investors at $370 million last year, one of the people said.
Sneaker Startup Allbirds Takes Flight With $50 Million In Funding
Two years ago, Allbirds started with one type of shoe: a pair of superfine merino wool sneakers designed to be the most comfortable shoe on Earth. In a world where the line between formal and casual has become increasingly blurred, Allbirds’ grey sneaker struck a note and sales took off—with over a million pairs sold in its first two years. Investors bought in too, and on Thursday the company announced it had raised an additional $50 million in funding from T. Rowe Price, Fidelity and Tiger Global, bringing the total raised to $77.5 million. The new funding round values the company at over $1 billion, according to a source familiar with the deal.
Leonardo DiCaprio Invests in Footwear Brand Allbirds: 'I Am Proud to Join the Company'
Leonardo DiCaprio takes his footwear choices very seriously — so much so that he just invested his money in one of his favorite sneaker brands. The environmentally conscious actor has teamed up with sustainable footwear company Allbirds, news that comes hot on the heels of the brand’s latest launch: a sustainable, eco-friendly sole unveiled on the label’s debut flip-flop. “Creating sustainable consumer products requires a deep commitment from brands that understand the role they have in helping solve our environmental crisis,” DiCaprio said in an exclusive statement. “Allbirds is on the forefront of developing new materials that will serve as a model for the footwear industry. This kind of innovation is crucial for creating a more sustainable future. I am proud to join the company as an investor.”
Allbirds wants to fix your sole
Allbirds‘ newest product, a flip-flop, is deceptively simple. The two-year-old startup–which took Silicon Valley by storm with its wool sneakers–is now releasing a sandal made from a piece of squishy, lightweight foam. The base softly cradles your foot when you slip it on, and a polyester strap with a microsuede lining sits snugly between your toes. There’s no doubt it’s a comfortable piece of footwear. Still, to the untrained eye, it looks like any other flip-flop on the market.
How the ‘World’s Most Comfortable Shoe’ is Challenging Nike and Adidas
Driven by word-of-mouth sales and an eco-focus, San Francisco's Allbirds has sold over a million shoes in two years. But can this Silicon Valley success story last? It’s a random Saturday in May, and I can barely find enough free space inside Allbirds’s Soho store to try on a pair of what the brand proclaims the “world’s most comfortable shoes.” I’ve been on rush-hour subway cars filled with fewer people. I have to ask a harried sales associate twice to get the $95 Wool Runner sneakers in my size. While waiting, I fondle a display shoe that looks like a pared-down version of an Adidas Yeezy Boost 350. Yet, while that shoe’s upper is made from a synthetic material, the sneaker in my hand is knit from merino wool, making it resemble a winter sock affixed to a white rubber sole, with prominent laces as thick as bucatini.
Allbirds co-founders on their new plant-based shoe collection
In its first two years, sneaker startup Allbirds sold more than a million pairs of shoes. The San Francisco-based company says it's committed to using sustainable environmental practices to make what it calls "the world's most comfortable shoe." The company is launching Tree, a new line of shoes with material sourced from eucalyptus. Co-founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss why they were inspired to start the company and how they developed their new line. "There was this trend where everything was adding more and more and more, flashy logos, more seams, everything that wasn't doing something for comfort. So if we could strip everything down to its simplest form, remove everything that wasn't functional, we thought that we could make something quite beautiful," Zwillinger said.
Allbirds Hooked You On Wool Shoes. Next, Shoes Made from Trees
Allbirds, the Silicon Valley startup behind a wildly popular wool sneaker, is pivoting from sheep to trees. The venture-capital darling is unveiling two new models Thursday made with the fibers of eucalyptus trees, effectively doubling its product line. One of its new kicks will be a flora version of its seminal, minimalist running shoe. “We’ve been the leaders, you could argue, in creating a new class of footwear,” said co-founder Tim Brown of the company’s novel use of wool. “And at first glance, shoes made out of trees don’t make a lot of sense, either.” Allbirds said eucalyptus will require only 5 percent of the resources that go into a traditional shoe made of leather, plastic, rubber or some combination thereof. And while there’s a lot to like about wool shoes, from a warm, fuzzy fit to anti-microbial properties, they still don’t pair overly well with summer or rain. Allbirds is hoping its eucalyptus line, which wicks away sweat, will strip some of the seasonality out of its business and expand sales in America’s southern climes, as well as in markets such as Australia.
Allbirds is shaking up footwear with machine-washable wool shoes
Allbirds co-founder Tim Brown came up with the idea for his shoe company after hanging up his soccer cleats. Everything Brown had worn as a pro athlete in New Zealand, where he played for the All Whites, featured logos. He wanted something simpler, made out of natural materials. So he decided to make his own shoes out of wool. "I got lots of pats on the head," Brown said, describing the initial response. "I got told to leave that to people that know what they're doing."
Allbirds Founder Joey Zwillinger is No. 39 on the Recode 100
A year ago, Allbirds was a pair of wool shoes designed by a New Zealander. Not something you’d peg as a fashion statement. Now here we are: Allbirds are what you wear if you work in Silicon Valley or the New York tech scene. They’re so omnipresent that The Gray Lady has taken notice. Co-founder Joey Zwillinger is trying to make the shoes even more popular, by raising $18 million and putting the online retailer in physical storefronts in San Francisco and New York. Expect more brick-and-mortar stores in 2018 — along with pressure to prove that the company can do more than outfit the tech set.
Silicon Valley's shoe darling launches a line for kids
A shoe company that has already won over Silicon Valley's adults is launching a line for kids. Online start-up Allbirds, which opened its first New York store last month, has designed a pint-size version of its shoes for children, called Smallbirds. Smallbirds is available starting Tuesday, selling in Allbirds' two physical stores and on its website. "We thought this was a natural use of our soft, comfortable materials, to create kids' shoes that were just as good, if not better," co-founder Tim Brown told CNBC. "There was a really strong sense from customers that they wanted this." The merino wool-built shoes are fit for kids' constant movement, the company said, and are made with a machine-washable, stretchable fabric. The pairs will come in blue, red and gray, and retail for $55.
Allbirds is launching a kids shoe line called–what else?–Smallbirds
Allbirds, Silicon Valley’s favorite wool shoe brand, just got a whole lot cuter with a new limited-edition line of toddler and kids shoes called–wait for it–Smallbirds. Allbirds has been a darling of the startup world, having raked in more than $27 million in investment to scale its growth. Founded in 2015 by New Zealander Tim Brown, a former soccer player, and entrepreneur Joey Zwilinger, the company has so far only produced two styles of shoe, a sneaker and a flat, both for $95. The shoes, which are made from superfine merino wool, are soft, moisture wicking, temperature regulating, and odor-minimizing. They can also be worn sock-free. All of these features make them perfect for toddlers and kids. The stretchy nature of the material means that they can accommodate
Allbirds: Sustainable shoe craze takes run at footwear space
Sneaker Startup Allbirds Lands $17.5 Million In New Funding
Allbirds, a San Francisco-based sneaker startup, has raised $17.5 million in new investment. The Series B funding round was led by Tiger Global Management, a New York-based firm that has also backed Warby Parker, Spotify and Facebook. Elephant, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Maveron also invested. The new infusion brings Allbirds’ total funding to $27.5 million to date. The shoe company was founded in 2015 by Tim Brown, a former New Zealand professional soccer player, and Joey Zwillinger, a biotech engineer and renewable materials expert. The startup has more than 50 employees and has been profitable since launch, according to Tim Brown. “We were absolutely diligent on every dollar we spent,” he says. He declined to disclose revenue or valuation.
Allbirds plans to expand to new materials with $17.5 million in fresh funds
You can’t walk outside your door in San Francisco these days without seeing some tech worker or VC wearing a pair of Allbirds. The eco-friendly wool shoes have taken over the tech world since the startup’s launch a mere 18 months ago. Now, it plans to expand globally and develop new materials beyond its signature merino wool. Allbirds has a good amount of capital to go there as the company just raised $17.5 million for its Series B funding, adding a total of $27.5 million to work with now. Tiger Global Management led the round and, as you may be able to tell from the hedge fund’s other bets, Allbirds intends to use those connections to spread its wings internationally.
We tried 'the world's most comfortable shoes' to see if they're as great as everyone says they are
Whether you know someone who has and loves them, or you’ve just seen enough colorful, plush-looking sneakers walking around to note the style, you’ve likely already come into contact with the San Francisco brand Allbirds. Allbirds is only about a year old, but you’d never know that by how popular it has become. The founder, Tim Brown, grew up in New Zealand — a place most of us rightfully associate with rolling green hills, Lord of the Rings, and hordes of fluffy sheep grazing on said green hills. It was there that he noticed the properties of merino wool and their implications — A super comfortable, sustainable material that wicks away moisture, regulates temperature, and minimizes odor? Why hadn’t this been used to make shoes before?
Silicon Valley's Fuzzy Fad
Now comes the Allbird, a knit wool loafer. In uncomfortable times, Silicon Valley has turned to a comfortable shoe. If there’s a venture capitalist nearby, there’s probably a pair of Allbirds, too. The Google co-founder Larry Page wears Allbirds, according to the shoemaker, as do the former Twitter chief Dick Costolo and the venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Mary Meeker. Founded by a New Zealand soccer star and a clean-technology entrepreneur, Allbirds makes the sneakerlike shoes from wool and castor bean oil. Slightly fuzzy to the touch, Allbirds have minimal styling (tiny logos only) and come in two versions: a runner and a lounger. Both styles, for men and women, sell for $95. Next month, Allbirds is opening its first store in Manhattan.
Allbirds opens a pop-up shop featuring footwear and specialty food and home goods at Grand Central Market
LA Times- Tim Brown, a British-born former professional soccer player from New Zealand, noticed an opportunity in the footwear market for minimalist, nonperformance sneakers. So he reinvented a simple lace-up tennis shoe in soft New Zealand wool and launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 that quickly raised $120,000. An investment round a year later attracted an additional $2.25 million, with contributions from Jeff Raider and David Gilboa, co-founders of affordable eyewear brand Warby Parker. By then, Brown had partnered with Joey Zwillinger, a business-savvy friend working in the biotech industry. He also upgraded the shoes with a super-fine merino wool spun into fabric by the 153-year-old Italian
There's a new version of the 'world's most comfortable shoes' that Silicon Valley loves
Can you improve on something that's already close to perfect? That's what I wondered after Allbirds last month debuted a new shoe, the $95 loafer-style "Wool Loungers." When I reviewed the original $95 “Wool Runners,” last year, I was charmed by the New Zealand wool sneakers' look and feel. And I've continued to get tons of unsolicited compliments from strangers on them since. I'm not the only one in their thrall. Over the last year, Silicon Valley startup founders and venture capitalists have
BuzzFeed Video - People Try The World's Most Comfortable Shoes BuzzFeedBlue
Silicon Valley’s favorite shoe now comes in a new style
Last March, Allbirds hit the market with a single product: a wool sneaker that didn't require you to wear socks. The brand, which has raised a total of $9.95 million in funding, was a big hit among techies and entrepreneurs. (In this month's magazine, the founder of Lola recommended it.) According to the founders, the company set itself very ambitious targets for the first year and ended up surpassing them by five times. Today, the company launches a new wool shoe in a smoking slipper silhouette that it is calling the "Lounger." It's a flat slip-on that feels much like the previous Runner style, but does not have laces. The Allbirds design team came up with dozens of prototypes before landing on this one. "This was much harder to design than the Runner," cofounder Tim Brown explains. "There's so little to work with on a flat shoe. Everything needed to be perfect, because there was nowhere for us to hide imperfections."
Allbirds, the sustainable sneaker that's growing in popularity without a big brand name
Allbirds Raises $7.25M Series A led by Maveron
Venture capitalist Henry McNamara owns a pair of Allbirds sneakers in five colors. He obsessively posts photos of them to social media, and never leaves for business without them. McNamara, a general partner at early stage investment firm Great Oaks, is biased. His firm invested in the San Francisco-based footwear startup before it became a Silicon Valley phenomenon. But like like many young professionals, McNamara is over dress shoes.
Are wool sneakers the future of footwear? Some investors think so.
Investors seem to think sustainable sneakers have potential. Allbirds, the San Francisco-based startup that makes wool sneakers, just closed on $7.25 million in a new round of funding. The Series A round was led by Maveron, the venture capital firm co-founded by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Seed investors Lerer Hippeau, Peterson Partners, Great Oaks VC, Red Sea Ventures and Slow Ventures also participated, Allbirds said.
Silicon Valley is obsessed with these wool sneakers that claim to be the 'most comfortable in the world'
I'm sitting in a WeWork office in San Francisco that looks torn from a West Elm catalog, talking with Michael Brandt about Nootrobox, a subscription service for "smart drugs," or cognitive-enhancement supplements. But I can't stop admiring his shoes — a pair of fuzzy gray sneakers. "They're really awesome. I don't wear socks anymore," Brandt, a
The World’s Most Comfortable Shoes Are Made of Super-Soft Wool
Next in line for disruption: sneakers. Allbirds, a new San Francisco-based startup aimed at designing environmentally friendly and comfortable footwear, launched Mar. 1. Its first product is called the Wool Runner, a minimalist sneaker made of natural textiles. The $95 shoes, for men and women, come in five colors and can only be purchased online.
Why Shoe Startups Are Making Sneakers From Wool
The perfect airport shoe is hard to come by. It should be stylish, cushioned but not overly sporty, and slip on easily. Tim Brown, a former professional soccer player from New Zealand, thinks he has the killer application for such a shoe: wool. Today, Brown launched allbirds, an e-commerce sneaker brand selling one simple model: a foam and rubber outsole stitched to a single piece of merino wool. Dubbed The Wool Runner, the kicks come in four colors and are available only on the allbirds website for $95. It’s a shockingly spare shoe, but it passes the airport test.