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Allbirds co-founder: We want to be a brand that transcends over the next couple of decades

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2-min read
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Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Joey Zwillinger said on Yahoo Finance Live the next decade for the sneaker market will look different as upstarts with sustainability messages such as his company and rival ON wrestle share from beasts Nike and Adidas.

"We're at an interesting juncture," Zwillinger explained on the outlook for retail following what looks to be a successful IPO for Allbirds on Wednesday.

The company sold 20 million shares on Tuesday for $15 a pop, assigning a value of $2.1 billion to the company. It had been marketing 19 million shares in a range of $12 to $14 during the roadshow process. The upside pricing reflects an enthusiastic response to the IPO, similar to that from ON in mid-September.

Allbirds shares exploded more than 60% to $24 out of the gate, trading at a market cap of about $4 billion.

Added Zwillinger, "We are going to constrain our R&D process for materials that are better for the planet. I think there is an opportunity and a window where the brands that are going to transcend over the next couple of decades will start in the way we have started. So we are capitalizing on a lot of good, and have been focused on being ahead of where consumers are. They are going to connect their purchases particularly around the environment."

Sustainability has been front and center throughout the Allbirds IPO process.

Allbirds defined itself in its prospectus as a "sustainable public equity offering." By that, Allbirds will be required to adhere to certain ESG (environmental, social and governance) standards.

They include, according to the filing, "a minimum ESG rating, a stakeholder-centric mission and purpose, best practices on climate responses, value chain, people management, and corporate governance, transparent reporting of ESG practices and matters, and commitments to make meaningful progress on important ESG matters."

The climate friendly IPO messaging shouldn't come as a total shock.

Allbirds has positioned itself since its 2016 founding as not-your-typical shoe maker. Instead of churning out shoes based from oil derivatives a la Nike, the company has created shoes made from natural materials that are carbon neutral. The pitch attracted the Silicon Valley elite, putting Allbirds on their feet.

It also helped Allbirds to secure a nice chunk of change from investors in the private market.

The company's last pre-IPO capital raise was in September 2020 — Allbirds obtained $100 million, valuing the company at about $1.6 billion.

Today, the company — which has yet to turn a profit — is worth more than double that.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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