Shoes of Prey has closed its largest funding round to date, snapping up $US15.5 million ($21.3 million) in order to speed up its United States expansion.
The online retailer started shifting its operations to the US back in June before settling into its Los Angeles headquarters in September.
The latest funding round was led by Australian venture capital firm Blue Sky Capital, with retail giant Nordstrom, Greycroft Partners and existing investor Khosla Ventures also participating, according to TechCrunch.
The $21 million capital injection follows a previous $US5.5 million investment round and a retail partnership with Nordstrom.
Speaking to SmartCompany this morning, Dr Elaine Stead, investment director at Blue Sky Venture Capital, said the skills Shoes of Prey’s leadership team bring to the table made investing in the company irresistible.
“We start with the team in all the investments we make,” Stead says.
“The founders have a great track record and have a unique combined skillset. One’s a technologist, one has a lot of commercial expertise and the other is a PR and relationship superstar. So as a combination, they’re a bit of a dream team.”
Stead says the fact Shoes of Prey is tackling such a large market in the US also made investing in the business an attractive prospect.
“We like people who solve hard problems as they’re the things that tend to be highly valued,” Stead says.
“The footwear retail market is enormous and they’re actually solving a very different problem for consumers while at the same time solving a different problem for retailers. “They’re providing product options for them [the retailers] without needing to hold any inventory, which is incredibly attractive. And for consumers… they’re allowing the consumer to create their own designwear.”
Stead points out that through its own research, Blue Sky found retailers are losing about 30% of revenue to out of stock items.
“That’s an enormous component of what is a very large market,” she says.
“What they’re [Shoes of Prey] doing is really scalable. They’ve proved this is scalable on a bricks-and-mortar platform, but also – very importantly – on an online platform.”