Allbirds, famous for its cozy, colorful, minimalistic sneakers, just snagged another $50 million in funding from institutional investors T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Tiger Global, bringing its total funding to more than $75 million. That’s a ton of money for a company that is just two and a half years old, and speaks to the ambition of its founders, Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger, who want to turn the brand into a globally recognized household name. And fast.
The company is pouring much of this money into materials research. Until now, Allbirds has developed several different sustainable materials–wool, eucalyptus, and sugar-based foam–for its footwear line, which includes sneakers and flip-flops. Allbirds has also been expanding its brick-and-mortar presence. It recently opened a store in London, and plans to expand into the Asian market shortly, which could be a hugely lucrative move.
But Allbirds’ founders want to do more than make comfortable, fashionable shoes: They want to actively make the footwear industry more environmentally sound. For instance, the company has made the formula for its sugar-based foam open source, so that other companies can use it. (It’s also certified by Proforest, a nonprofit that verifies that raw materials are sourced using stringent protective practices.) “Comfort, design, and sustainability don’t have to live exclusive of each other,” Zwillinger said in a statement. “Climate change is the problem of our generation and the private sector has a responsibility to combat it.”