Congratulations to the Allbirds Flock on Your IPO!

Maveron
Maveron
Published in
4 min readNov 3, 2021

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My partners and I led the Series A in Allbirds when Tim and Joey were still just two guys who had a crazy idea to make the world’s most comfortable shoe. They had a few months of sales data, one style, and a lot of enthusiasm and passion. Since Allbirds’ founding in 2015, they’re operating in 35 countries, and they’ve sold more than eight million pairs of shoes to over four million customers.

Allbirds has always been committed to making better things in a better way. Since their beginning, they’ve done this through an unwavering focus on product development to prove that comfort, great design, and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive. That continues today.

Joey and Tim

As a B Corp focused on sustainability, they’re trying to combat climate change and bring sustainability to the forefront. We’ve been so moved by their commitment to B Corp values that we became one ourselves.

Being on their board since 2016, it’s been a privilege having a front-row seat to Allbirds’ success. When I reflect back on the five years since launch, a few things come to mind:

  1. Strong brand ethos

From the beginning, Allbirds was very, very clear about creating a brand and a message that stood on three fundamental pillars.

  • Comfort: More so than any company I’ve ever backed, they made what at the time appeared like an outrageous claim: comfort. And in 2016, TIME Magazine called them “the world’s most comfortable shoes.”
  • Simple and high-quality design: Allbirds wool runners became ubiquitous in their home market of San Francisco. The rest of the country quickly followed.
  • Sustainability: What we’ve learned time and time again is that sustainability isn’t the reason that people buy products, but it’s often the reason they fall in love with a brand.

2. Future-focused

Of all the 150 companies Maveron has invested in over the last 23 years, Allbirds seems to have established its relevance faster than any.

The best founders realize that building a company is a process that takes a long time. It’s not about yesterday, it’s what you do today and tomorrow. The best founders are also able to gain confidence from their early success but appreciate how hard and how long one has to work to build an enduring, sustainable brand.

This entrepreneurial journey is often lonely and grueling. Most founders do it alone. The fact that Tim and Joey have each other has made them a true force. They’ve enabled each other to leverage their strengths and they’ve done a superb job of separating their skill sets from what they do well, and yet they make decisions collectively. Equally importantly, they’ve thoughtfully built a team of diverse backgrounds and capabilities. The Allbirds Flock is a key building block of achieving their goals.

3. Obsessed with customer loyalty

In an era where consumers are being bombarded by new product messages, retaining customers and earning loyalty is a condition to make modern marketing work. The Allbirds team just gets it, and they have from the start.

When I think about customer loyalty and Allbirds, I think about:

  • Constantly improving their product. Their core initial style, the Wool Runner, has been improved more than 30 times.
  • Serving the customer’s needs where and when they want something, from digital to in-store to omnichannel.
  • Understanding — and, in some cases, predicting — what other products consumers may want from you, whether that’s socks or scarves.

Allbirds struck a chord in the hearts and minds of customers. If you’ve ever owned a pair of Allbirds, you probably own ten pairs of Allbirds. In 2020, for example, repeat customers accounted for approximately 53% of its sales.

I’m a walking example of just how loyal their customers can be. I’ve purchased 45 pairs in the last five years. I literally cannot remember the last time I wore a leather shoe, and I used to wear leather shoes every day. Great products have a way of integrating into the lives of consumers, which Allbirds has done not only in my life but also in the lives of millions of other customers.

Be well,
Dan

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Maveron
Maveron

We are obsessed with helping extraordinary founders build consumer companies that directly engage, evangelize and enchant customers