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Allbirds S-1 IPO (sec.gov)
103 points by marc__1 49 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 121 comments

"•Grew net revenue from $126.0 million in 2018 to $219.3 million in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, of 31.9%;

•Grew our digital revenue from $113.2 million in 2018 to $194.6 million in 2020, representing a CAGR of 31.1%;

•Grew our store footprint from three in 2018 to 22 in 2020;

•Grew our U.S. and international revenue by $52.5 million and $40.7 million, respectively, from 2018 to 2020, representing a CAGR of 20.8% and 112.4%, respectively;

•Increased gross margin by 454 basis points from 46.9% in 2018 to 51.4% in 2020;

•Generated net losses of $14.5 million and $25.9 million in 2019 and 2020, respectively; and

•Generated adjusted EBITDA of $(1.3) million and $(15.4) million in 2019 and 2020, respectively."

EBITDA in a non-comparison context is meaningless. EBITDA is only useful when you're comparing ownership of two like businesses.

What is interest, if not an expense? What is tax, if not an expense? What is depreciation if not an expense? Alright, amortization, yeah, that one could get added back in – I buy that.

Whenever someone starts talking about EBITDA, check your wallet.

1) It's adjusted EBITDA which makes it even more meaningless.

> What is interest, if not an expense? What is tax, if not an expense? What is depreciation if not an expense? Alright, amortization, yeah, that one could get added back in – I buy that.

2) There is a specific reason these get taken out, because they generally represent values that the company either has little control over (taxes) or represent episodic expenditures (capital purchases, or debt raises) that have meaningful life greater than 1 year. D/A are essentially synonymous. So, no, D/A are not expenses, because they are simply representations of capital expenditures shown as expenses (the distinction is important) throughout the useful life the asset (intangible or tangible).

Easy way to illustrate this is an airline who buys an airplane in year 1 and then uses that plane for 30 years. If EBITDA wasn't useful, then calculating their earnings over a period time won't tell you anything about trends of the business health.

The devil is in the details. EBITDA is not all that bad, it's just not a "one figure to rule them all", especially since most firms create an "Adjusted" version of it to fit some narrative (and they always do).

To your point. The cashflow statement is much more important IMHO.

The reason EBITDA became popular is because private equity firms had low cost of borrowing (e.g., they would manipulate I expense) and were good at financial engineering such that tax rates could easily become 0 in the short term. D and A are excluded because they’re not cash.

Then, people just sort of adopted EBITDA as shorthand for “FCF from operations” and then companies like Allbirds took advantage of that to do whatever they want with it.

> Then, people just sort of adopted EBITDA as shorthand for “FCF from operations”

Very true.

> then companies like Allbirds took advantage of that to do whatever they want with it.

Here's an insider secret - everyone manipulates Adj. EBITDA (not just "Allbirds like companies"). It's part of the game of business sellers, which is why buy-side auditing is so important to get right. This is more or less why public security analysts exist - to keep pressure on proper reporting from the company. If WeWork actually went public every analyst worth a salt would basically throw out their "Community Adjusted EBITDA" and the term would be rendered meaningless.

Isn't EBITDA the number of greater interest to institutional investors such as Private Equity funds?

Interest could be irrationally expensive for a business, taxes could be higher than they should be if the entity is not setup correctly, Amortization represents assets which could be sold off.

These are all things that PE firms can fix/work on to one extent or another with financial engineering. They can't really grow cash flow.

PE usually look to load up the company they acquire with debt to cover their purchase price. EBITDA gives them a good idea of how much debt the company can service via cashflow.

EBITDA is a good measure of the upper bound of the earning potential of the current business.

And you're also right in that it's useful for comparing with similar companies. It's greatest value is in the variety of ratios that it slots into.

If 2 similar companies have very different EBITDA/Revenue ratios, e.g., that would indicate that the company with the lower EBITDA/rev ratio is probably less efficiently run.

Why can't the comparison context be from one year to the next year?

Because your choice isn't "invest or not" but invest relative to other potential investments in the marketplace.

The parent comment is right. EBITDA is used for both industry comparison as well as YoY trends. For YoY it's used to try to eliminate "noise".

YoY trends don't matter in isolation as you're trying to decide to make an investment.

> YoY trends don't matter in isolation as you're trying to decide to make an investment.


You 100% can make investing decisions in isolation. I don't think this is what you meant you say, because this makes absolutely no sense at all. If someone comes to me and says "if you give me a dollar today, I'll give you $10 tomorrow" I really don't need to consider anything else. Sure, someone else might say "I'll give you $11 instead", but if the deal is there and I can analyze that the risk of default is minimal, then I can absolutely make that decision in isolation.

We must be talking past each other. I have no idea what you're talking about. What do you mean by you can make a decision in isolation? How would you know that giving someone a dollar for 10 dollars tomorrow is a good investment unless you have other investments or investment opportunities to compare it to?

And even so, how would you construct a life such that you were naive to all investment opportunities until this single one arises? It doesn't make sense.

> I have no idea what you're talking about.


I said: - EBITDA is used for both comparison and YoY trends

You replied: - YoY trends don't matter in isolation

All of my clients (PEGs) used EBITDA both as a tool to normalize YoY trends and to do like for like comparisons of comparable assets. Ultimately this is to evaluate whether they want to make an investment or not.

Since you cared to provide some contradictory clarification to my comment, I can only assume you were disagreeing that EBITDA can only be used for comparative measures, which is 100% not true as per practice. Hence my example was that in theory you could make an investment decision in isolation (as naive as that might be).

I think the person in the OP edited their post. They no longer mention YoY changes which is what the comment I replied to was asking about and I responded to.

All I was saying is that you have to have context and something to compare the YoY to and you can't simply look at a YoY growth rate. It's literally meaningless to do so without comparables. It's like saying the velocity of something is 50, ok who cares unless you can tell me how it relates to some other thing. If a company grows 100% YoY I don't care without information relating it to other investment options. 100% could very well be really bad unless I know what is normal, below average, above average, etc.

So idk what's really going on here anymore. I think something has become confused that's causing this conversation to go in useless circles.

EBITDA is a useful measure for understanding how much cash a business generates if you were to strip it down. E.g. EV/ebitda is the most widely multiple for buyouts and most accurately takes into account operating leverage. It’s less useful for a business like this, but saying “ebitda is a scam” is illiterate.

The point of these things is that there are strict rules on what counts and what doesn’t do it’s a measurement that has some common degree of understanding. It’s far from perfect, but absent these things companies have a habit of making up BS metrics to make the company look healthy (remember “Community Adjusted EBITDA”) when the standard metrics would call the company’s financial health into question.

These metrics companies like to put out there, not surprisingly, tend to be something along the lines of “look at all the profit we’re making if you for a moment ignore all the reasons why our business model is not profitable.”

Not mentioned: $140mn in Sales and Marketing to generate $110mn in Gross Profit.

Are they paying people $14 to then in turn purchase an $11 shoe? Why can't I just keep the $14?

More accurately, they’re paying people $14 to buy a $20 shoe that cost $9 to make. And they’re not just “keeping the money” because they’re hoping to be valued on a revenue multiple.

They're paying 14 to get people to purchase a 25 dollar shoe. Profit is after Cost of revenue.

Is that unusual?

Maybe not unusual for a young, growing company, but its obviously not sustainable for each dollar in profit to cost more than a dollar in sales/marketing effort. Thats a negative ROI.

You're confusing profit and revenue

Gross profit = the profit from a specific business activity, in this case, sales, when looking solely at sales revenue less the specific costs of generating that revenue (aka COGS).

Net profit = the profit from the overall business, taking into account all sources of income and all expenses.

Sales and marketing are usually not treated as part of COGS, because they are not a necessary expense (in this context, COGS would include things like materials and production costs).

Many investors think in gross profit terms rather than revenue terms, because gross profit is the actual “cash in” from a given sale.

That had become less common because software has famously high gross margins that aren’t necessarily linearly tied to revenue, but allbirds are shoes.

When you’re growing that gross profit by 10% and you’re not locking customers into long term revenue agreements?

No comment on usual or not. Definitely not “good”.

How, as a consumer goods manufacturer, do you continue to lose money? My background is in a different manufacturing sector, beer, but even as a journeyman brewer I was doing COGS analyses and knew exactly how much each bottle/keg cost us for each brew so that we could be profitable.

From their S-1, 2020 revenue was $219m. From that, $106m was cost of revenue, $87m went out to SG&A, and $55m for marketing. Presumably if they wanted to hit pure profitability, they could take their foot off the gas on the admin expenses and marketing, but since they're still seeing good growth and seem to be having an easy enough time getting capital, they may as well keep spending on additional growth.

Haven't read the S-1, but their gross margins appear pretty solid, so they're probably spending aggressively in SG&A and capex-heavy depreciated assets that will hit COGS over time.

Eg growing from 3 stores to 22 in two years probably requires a lot of big upfront expenditures.

It's important to look at cashflow statements, P&L, and balance sheet in concert rather than isolation -- especially for larger fast-growing companies.

Out of fairness, their gross margin is 51%, so they're covering their COGS comfortably.

They're spending a lot on operating stores and advertising, where the input-output math is less clear/predictable. You could also believe that those stores stores will scale up in efficiency as people know that they're there and leave their house post-COVID.

Building a business to such scale that it can be a public company is an extremely expensive endeavour, continuing that growth till a time such that the business can sustain "market weather" while in the public is even more so. As crazy as it may seem, the bar for a public market business to be considered a "stable" or "safe" investment is very very very high and takes years in the public to build the platform that holds your market share. In near all instances, you have to continue to spend a lot into that sustainability.

For eCommerce ad-driven sales, I would think that ad expenses should be a part of COGS. It's easy to attribute sales to each ad dollar spent, and the impact of reduced ad spending will likely impact revenue, not just growth.

Losing money isn't always due to a company charging less for a product than the direct cost to make it.

In the case of startups like this, the loss is often due to the large costs of things like expanding number of stores, expanding manufacturing capacity (it's not always as simple as sending orders to China to make), expanding their logistics system to handle shipping more and more shoes, etc.

I haven’t looked at the filing in detail yet, but I would guess expanding their physical store footprint is burning money and the source of loss. They are in the expansion/growth phase so I would not expect profitability until either runway runs out or growth slows.

VC backed company try to grow revenue at all cost, they don't care about profit.

Because it's not their money.

It's a VC money, and the VCs will let this go on as long as an exit is in sight because they can then extract their money + a hefty premium.

Then at that point the money faucet is re-plumbed to the public's money via institutional investors and from there they're free to do the slow decline to penny stock at their own pace

Why are the top line numbers shown from 2018 to 2020? If I had to guess, it would be because 2018-2019 showed the most growth while 2019-2020 showed less, and they want to show good % changes.

No. All S1s do it this way for some reason.

My wife just worked on an S1 and had a similar comment but she investigated other S1s and saw that was just how it was done.

Good observation. That's not th standard as people here claim.

Companies often play such games. Esp to make their IPO look attractive. I went over Squarespace S-1 today who IPOed in May and saw they claim around 70% revenue growth in commerce from 2019 to 2020. Then somewhere in the document you find that they acquired a company in March 2021 but they include their revenue in their 2020 numbers. So the 70% growth is not really organic growth and they don't mention anything about the growth of the acquired company (Tock).

It's because the gold standard for IPO 8 quartners with sustained growth.

But showing two data points doesn't actually demonstrate sustained growth. Showing quarterly or at least annually would get closer.

Showing two data points could mask growth in year one and losses in year two.

You would be correct. On page 18, 2019 revenue was 193M and 2020 was 219M, growth of only 13%.

I hope they stay in business for a long time. Not to sound like a shill or anything, but their shoes are some of the most comfy I've tried. I pretty much wear them to the office every day. Are there more comfortable shoes out there? I don't know, probably, but I'm a happy Allbirds customer all the same.

I hope someday they make women’s shoes in sizes greater than 41, so that I can recommend them to my trans friends that have 42+ feet. It’s not really very profitable to market size 42 to women, and shoe retailers just don’t bother to make them at all, rather than charging more! so I always have a superbly difficult time finding good fashion recommendations in the shoe space. Disappointed to see them IPOing without considering a wider size range, but maybe the IPO will make them more inclusive. (In the meantime, Rothy’s is a classy alternative available up to 44, iirc.)

ps. Yes, I know this is HN, but it’s such an absurdly difficult space that if I can help a single trans woman reading this comment, then it was worth the risk of being attacked for caring. Fashion is often high tech these days too. With custom-to-order clothing and fast fashion normality, there’s no excuses for retailers who don’t extend their size range anymore. It’s just that lots of techy hackers aren’t aware of the market bias. I’ve been studying fashion for a couple decades and there are insanely great innovations that I don’t post to HN because we’re not mature enough yet. Hooray for Allbirds’ offering an opportunity to talk about one of my tech interests safely :)

How does the Allbirds Men’s line differ from the Allbirds Women’s line? All of their shoes look pretty much the same to me, could your trans friends just order a 42+ shoe from the Men’s line?

I have no idea. I didn't think to check their Men's line. The typical variation is that "typically women's" colorways are simply not offered in men's, so if you want a shoe that has any sort of red hues (such as pink, purple, lavender, lilac, wine, maroon, etc) then you're out of luck, because most retailers only offer "typically men's" colorways in their men's sizes. You'll also see stylistic variations, heel size variations, and "these shoes are intended for use with or without socks" variations.

Still. I'll go check now, though, and I feel kind of dumb for not thinking to look sooner. Thank you for the pointer.

Nope. This entire shoe is not offered in Men's Allbirds at all, and it's the one I was asked to find:


It's a shoe shape called "Flats" that only exists in Women's, it comes in colors that are totally unlike their Men's shoe shapes and colors in the closest (it's not very close) equivalent offered:


This is pervasive and industry-wide, but I'm still surprised that Allbirds fell prey to it. I would have expected better of them, based on their marketing and general love from buyers. Oh well.

I find Allbird comfortable and stylish but I find that they wear out incredibly fast. I’ve owned four pairs of Allbirds and they’ve all had a fairly short shelf life compared to my other shoes.

My everyday shoe now is from Casca [1]. They’re a Vancouver-based company with a specific focus on quality: I’ve worn them almost every day since fall 2018 (when they launched) and the shoes still look as good as new. And they’re machine washable.

They’re also incredibly comfortable. When you buy a pair of shoes, you have the option to take a few pictures of your feet and the shoes will be delivered with custom 3D-printed insoles. It’s amazing the difference in comfort when a shoe is moulded to your feet.

[1] https://casca.com/

I have a pair from 2018 that I frequently wear that still looks fine. I think some people have feet that just don't work with Allbirds.

Same here. Only use them to get to the store, out for food.

They great for when it’s too cold for jandals but you are too lazy to put socks on.

I like them for the most part, but their soles early on were dangerously slippery on any marginally wet surfaces, big turn off. I've heard this is better but not great now?

after wearing a few different pairs of allbirds for years without issue, i just sprained my foot a week ago after slipping on a slick sidewalk after a drizzle in a reasonably new pair

non-skid soles on a fashionable lightweight sneaker are impossible to find :(

Have you tried ECCO? Bit pricier but I've found their stuff to be great.

This was my experience too. It was like ice skating.

I have worn my tree runners nearly every day all summer.

I wear my wool runners most days in the winter.

I worry, though, than an IPO signals a growth curve that will impose quality problems.

> Are there more comfortable shoes out there?

I went from Allbirds to Baabuk. Similar comfort (I can wear them sockless without chafing) but they seem to last twice as many miles before wearing out & they look a lot better IMO.

Seconded. I was ranting to a friend about how I was fed up of finding shoes I liked only for them to be discontinued next time I need them and he showed me his Allbirds (which conveniently looked very similar to the Nikes I was trying to replace) and I was instantly sold - very pleased with the comfort and they feel like they should be very durable. Seems like a nice company in terms of thinking about environmental impact etc too.

I’ve now become the person who tells other people about my shoes lol - they had better not change the design!

I haven't worn them, but my friends tell me one of the other defining features is the ability to wash them very easily. Anyone else can confirm?

Both my wool ones and my eucalyptus ones wash quite well (cold water, take out insoles, don't dry), so yes, can confirm.

They’re great as a casual light walking shoe but not that great for longer and more challenging walks. You can’t really put off-center weight on them. Since there isn’t much support, your foot can easily slip sideways off the sole which can be dangerous. On a positive note, I think Allbirds are great shoes to wear when working at a standup desk.

Johnston & Murphy makes a comfortable shoe, probably the only ones in my closet that rival my Allbirds.

In particular the McGuffey Plain Toe: https://www.johnstonmurphy.com/mcguffey-plain-toe/8318.html

YMMV, of course!

I like their shoes because they're not crazy styled. Normal standard shoes - no bullshit. They're comfortable and if a pair wears out I can buy the exact same shoe. Have you ever tried to replace a pair Nikes with the the same shoe? Its impossible.

That’s why I like ASICS. I can just keep buying the same model shoe.

I've had a couple of Vivobarefoots that I've been super happy with. They're fantastic quality and incredibly comfy. They do take a bit for your feet to get used to since they have a very thin sole, but they are great.

Never heard of them until just now. Looking at the men's "Everyday" collection they sort of remind me of the original Yeezys if you were to take the edge off of them and make them blend into an office park. Not really my thing, but I'm here for companies not using slave labor and trying to use materials that aren't so destructive to the planet.

Their footwear is comfortable and affordable. Their core attribute is being "greener" using biological material (not so different in this respect from Rayon) in some of their manufacturing input...

But... their footwear wears out quite quick (the soles esp.), so overall, I do not know that if you were to study its carbon footprint over two years, if they would actually come ahead compared to conventional footwear.

Affordable is relative. These are at least twice what I've ever paid for casual-looking shoes.

Most sports shoes kids wear in highschool will run about the same, unless they are on sale. Nike, Adidas, etc. They will run the same or more, sometimes less. That's my reference.

Are you serious? $100 for a pair of shoes is, at least for me, under the midpoint for shoe cost in my adult life.

A few cheaper options exist in my closet, but mostly they're more expensive.

I guess that goes to show there's a wide range of needs and desires in the market.

I've been wearing the same line of tennis shoes for a handful of years. Outside of work boots for projects, I wear the tennis shoes for almost every other event and task, breaking out dressy black shoes a handful of times per year.

They run around $65 unless I find a deal. That shoe is adequate for my needs and budget, fits well, and the variations from year to year are minimal. I'm hesitant to deviate away from something I know works well.

I've never found a pair of Nike tennis shoes that are comfortable. Nike shoes would probably be more expensive than my go-to pair, but I'm sure for some people my tennis shoes would be really uncomfortable.

All that said, I am considering trying a pair of Allbirds. I'm 4 hours from their nearest store, and have never bought a pair of shoes online, so I may swing by next time I'm in Minneapolis.

Allbirds has a pretty great return/exchange policy, so I wouldn't sweat the online order if you're interested.

They come in whole sizes only; the rest of my shoes are 9.5 to 10.5 depending on application. My Allbirds fit perfectly; both pairs are 10s.

You can get cheap pair of shoes at outlets, I haven't paid more than 50$ in the last 5 years for a pair of shoes.

I'm stunned by this. Do you just never, ever dress up for anything?

Nop, sneakers and t shirts are enough

a nice pair of dress shoes would last more than 5 years, wouldn't it?

right, true.

I’ve bought at outlets. Half of the time it’s because they had a quality defect that appears a few month into wearing them. (Stitching or glue, etc).

That's disappointing to hear. I personally try to buy things that will last for years. I'd rather spend a lot of money on, say, a pair of Red Wings and wear them for a decade, maybe with an occasional resoling, than a pair of boots that will be a mess in a year or two. Also, NYC (where I am) will really tear a pair of shoes up from all the city walking, so that's a bit of an extra incentive to go for quality.

It's good that their inputs aren't horrible for the planet, but if they break down in a couple years it might not make that much of a difference.

I (obviously?) didn't do a long term study. They have some details about their claims here: https://www.allbirds.com/pages/sustainable-practices [you can download their report]

Most sportswear shoes, "sneakers" in vernacular, don't accommodate resoling. But evenso, the plastic mesh or wool upper (depends on model) tends to wear out in obvious spots (same as where socks might wear out, like toes).

Yeah absolutely -- the sneakers I buy (Vans) definitely can't be resoled, but they last a long time.

Most footwear is fast fashion. People throw out shoes well ahead of them being worn out. I appreciate all the natural materials for this purpose, because at least they biodegrade better, which may have something to do with being worn out faster.

I had a pair for like 3 years. They're extremely durable and light, easy to clean (toss in the wash, air dry), it's almost like wearing super tough socks.

The best part about them was the convenience and comfort, but as far as style they're maybe one rung up the ladder from Crocs, so you're not really winning points there. They go well with shorts and look particularly awkward in jeans.

I second this, they are extremely durable I had mine for over 4 years.

The heel of mine separated from the sole within 6 months. Beginning to wonder if I have some quirk with my stride that tears shoes apart early, or if their quality is just inconsistent.

They are, or were, extremely trendy among the tech workers of the Silicon Valley / San Francisco.

They're premium priced and definitely casual in style and function, with a sustainability-focused marketing sheen.

I've had a few pairs and the quality is above-average but definitely not a "buy it for life."

Wouldn't call them the best value, but I love my pair they are extremely comfortable and versatile for matching with stuff. Fashion-wise, they are pretty bland.

Unfortunately Amazon doesn't have these shoes. I need to create yet another user account.

You don't need to create an account to buy their shoes. You can check out as a guest, they use Shopify.

They’re very comfortable & breathable – I used to refer to them as my office slippers back when offices were a place where we spent time. Nice enough looking for meetings, but you didn’t mind wearing them all day even in the summer.

I ordered a couple of styles a few years ago. They seemed incredibly comfortable but both didn't fit properly due to the lack of half sizes so they were returned.

I guess it hasn't affected their valuation much though.

Great job by founders and team but I worry that most of these new CPG companies are not sustainable. Buffett invested billions into Heinz and Kraft, which struggled as a result of the commoditization of brands. I know fashion is different but most of these companies (e.g. AllBirds, Away) are not luxury brands. Are these valuations truly sustainable?

Their balance sheet looks very healthy for a growing company with a strong gross margin and very sustainable net losses relative to the capital they've been able to raise. As long as they can maintain their brand position in the space, the multiple they last raised at doesn't seem absurd to me at least.

Oh I agree, but I would put large bets against any company with a fresh take on a popular product that suddenly has an IPO. The growth curve to satisfy shareholders will destroy the brand's name and quality as what they do...doesn't really scale well. Eventually you are outsourcing shoe production to new sources, getting lower quality wool for cheaper, reducing costs in customer service. For a year or so things look great on paper, then slowly sales start to slip, the company cuts costs further, slowing the slip and then the cycle repeats until the brand is known for their Shoe Department collection for 29.99.

Wow, glad to see this. Allbirds is a great business, makes good products, and cares about having an impact on the world/reducing climate impacts - not sure if I’ve ever seen any other S1 filing that mentions climate impacts/goals as extensively.

If the amount of shoes/repurchases I and many others I know have made over the years from them is any indication, they’re going to keep growing fast - they seem to have a knack for bringing customers back; the filing says more than 43% of customers return to purchase something else, which is impressive.

> Allbirds is a great business

They haven’t proven that. Yes, they’ve sold a lot of shoes, but they’ve never made a profit and don’t project doing so.

Every money-losing company that raises money has a story of how it will become profitable. It is possible that they do, but they haven’t yet.

The company could be profitable tomorrow if they wanted to.

It's not like this is some grand, new, unproven business concept, or one that is only competitive due to VC capital. They sell shoes, and they sell them at a decent profit. There are lots of large apparel companies out there making stacks of money, many of whom started off selling shoes.

This is not Uber/AirBnb, it's Adidas/Puma/Nike.

Whenever I hear about Allbirds, I can't but laugh and think about this site: https://vcstarterkit.com

Better URL directly to the S-1, like other S-1 posts: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1653909/000162828021...

A great (2019) video about the sustainability claim of Allbirds


I’m honestly more compelled to invest because of this vision than the financials. We need products like this to succeed in the world.

Super excited to see this. I'm on my fifth pair of Allbirds - by far the most comfortable shoes I've had in a while and I like the way they look. My only gripe with them is how easy they get dirty if you get the lighter-colored ones.

I think long-term, stores might be their best bet. There is still a good amount of people who are skeptical on purchasing shoes online even with easy return options. Good job to these founders!

Apart from all the numbers. The other thing that actually matters is the quality itself. I'm definitely not locked in on the brand as the products are not great after you them for a while. i.e they don't age graciously and i see it as a major problem in the long run (no repeat customers).

The wool line made them popular, but the tree runner in my opinion is my absolute favorite shoe.

My white pair has survived about 10 runs through the wash, and damn if there isn't a better looking shoe to wear sockless.

Seems reasonable. Nice product, well priced, strong sustainablilty credentials.

Good for them.

Or how Germans pronounce it: “Albert’s”. Congrats on the ipo.

After realizing most shoes are animal-based or synthetic, even if they're not leather, I've set out to find a pair which is non-synthetic non-animal-based and I've found these (and giesswein's which I didn't like).

Bought them, really comfortable, great refund policy (could test out 2-3 pairs to find my right size), would definitely recommend.

Shame they don't seem to make wide sizes.

Hiked for 6 weeks straight across Europe mostly in a pair of tree runner Allbirds. Incredible shoe and company.

I have a pair of their shoes and like them. I had no idea they made clothes[1] however. Good luck to the team.

[1] https://www.allbirds.com/products/womens-wool-jumper-orchid

I have bought their shoes for awhile now. I like their shoes and the expansion into other shoe types.

Does anyone know when these shares will be available for us mere mortals? Thanks

I don't see how Allbirds can have any sort of moat keeping out competitors even in the medium term. Shoes are notoriously easy to duplicate. See for instance the many, many near-perfect Croc copies.

So, we're doing fashion startups now?

Seriously though, I have no idea how valid Allbirds sustainability credentials are. They are, however, like slippers I can wear outside. Mine are two years old and have almost no signs of age. Price point is about normal for my shoes. I'm a fan.

Software is ubiquitous, us technologists work in way more industries than "tech".

And the assumption that "tech" ends at the browser, cloud, or digital device is rooted in ignorance about how consumer goods are created from the "raw inputs"

OK, so serious question: what's the cool tech in Allbirds? I'm willing to buy that the wool sneakers are technologically innovative, but my gut instinct is that the S-1 is on HN because, somehow, we've all become convinced that direct-to-consumer businesses are "tech adjacent."

Like, what about that DTC toothbrush company? Or those guys who sell disposable razors? Or the online viagra salesmen whose ads are all over the MTA? Somehow, investors have become convinced these are tech companies ("democratizing access to consumer goods?") that should be valued at whacky p/e ratios, instead of yet another online commodity retailer.

from the filing:

◦New materials. Our successful track record of commercializing and bringing to market new innovations has made us a desirable partner for many outside R&D companies and vendors, allowing us to be first to market with novel materials while accelerating development timelines and reducing costs. A recent example is our collaboration with Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. to commercialize a 100% natural, plant-based leather-alternative. As we continue to build our library of materials, we plan to create new, differentiated products, as well as leverage new materials across our existing product platforms by refreshing our classic silhouettes.

We estimate that a standard pair of sneakers results in a carbon footprint of 14.1 kg of CO2e. Today, through our use of renewable, natural materials and responsible manufacturing, the average pair of Allbirds shoes has a carbon footprint that is 30% less than our estimated carbon footprint for a standard pair of sneakers, and we offset the entirety of the rest to provide our customers with carbon-neutral products. Furthermore, we believe in the power of selective industry collaboration to accelerate progress, as evident by our partnership with adidas to unveil the world’s lowest carbon footprint running shoe at 2.94kg of CO2e in May 2021. This partnership, as well as our decision to open up the carbon-negative, green EVA used to make SweetFoam, and our carbon footprint methodology demonstrates our ability to scale our impact to the broader industry and beyond, while extending our brand’s leadership as a sustainability innovator.

For example, in 2018, with the help of our partner, Braskem S.A., the petrochemical company and a leading biopolymers producer, we pioneered a carbon-negative green EVA made with Brazilian sugarcane, as an alternative to traditional EVA made from petroleum. We used this new carbon-negative green EVA to create SweetFoam, which is now in all of our shoe soles.

The big difference is whether or not the product has near zero marginal costs, network effects, and/or large moats due to copyrights and patents. From a valuation perspective these factors greatly affect how much money can be made.

Well, "tech" is short for "high technology", which typically means the bleeding edge. I'm certain that parts of modern shoe manufacturing are very novel, especially around materials science, but is its bleeding-edge-ness its defining characteristic, like it has been for eg computing?

Because from where I'm sitting, it looks like they're making sneakers only very slightly differently than Nike has been for many decades, using a different foam resin supplier that claims to make it out of sugarcane feedstock rather than petroleum, and some nice claims of using recycled bottles for laces to make it so that their customers can feel a little better about buying fairly disposable shoes made from polymer foam.

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