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Allbirds IPO filing shows losses but big ambitions


Allbirds, the manufacturer of woolen sneakers, offered a long-awaited glimpse into its earnings when its filing of an initial public offering was released to the public on Tuesday, revealing strong digital sales in 2020 despite an annual loss.

The company, which was valued at around $ 1.7 billion in 2020, generated around $ 219 million in revenue last year, nearly 90% of which came from digital sales, according to the filing. But the company, which confidentially filed for an IPO this summer, has lost money over the past two years, and it expects the losses to continue.

Allbirds, which is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2015, is often compared to other venture capital-backed consumer firms such as Warby Parker and Glossier, which have also built cult following around one or of a handful of products sold online before expanding into physical retail. They are often presented as examples of a new kind of retail model in the e-commerce age.

More recently, Allbirds has gone beyond casual footwear to performance running shoes and clothing.

The company has big ambitions despite its relatively low sales compared to the sportswear behemoths. Chances are it will grow rapidly through hundreds of new stores and attracting a new generation of consumers who are concerned about climate change and who are changing their shopping habits accordingly.

Allbirds said in its file that a pair of its shoes have a carbon footprint that is about 30% lower on average than its estimated carbon footprint for a pair of standard sneakers, citing its use of renewable natural materials and its manufacturing process.

It uses old-fashioned retail tactics to accelerate its growth. The company said although its stores have been disrupted by the pandemic, it has “just scratched the surface of our store potential” with 27 locations as of June 30, and has also recently expanded to television advertising. .

Allbirds wool sneakers has become a successful product after appearing at the feet of Silicon Valley luminaries, including Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, and venture capitalists like Mary Meeker. The company was founded by Tim Brown, a former football player in New Zealand, and Joey Zwillinger, a former cleantech entrepreneur. After Mr. Brown obtained a research grant from The wool industry in New Zealand and started a Kickstarter campaign to make woolen shoes, the two were introduced by their wives, who were roommates at Dartmouth College.

The company is a B Corp, a status certified by a non-profit organization called B Lab for companies that are committed to high social and environmental standards. Other prominent B Corp companies include Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia.

Allbirds said in the filing that it plans to complete the first “sustainable public equity offering” or SPO, saying it “is an expression of our belief and commitment that our environmental credentials are not in conflict. with phenomenal financial results ”.


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