Luxury leather goods brand Koio has secured a $3 million Series A financing round.
The round was led by venture capital firm Acton Capital. Other investors in the round include venture capital firms Brand Foundry Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, actor Miles Teller and director and producer Simon Kinberg.
Chris Wichert and Johannes Quodt, both Wharton School graduates, founded the New York-based start-up in 2015 as a direct-to-consumer leather brand. The brand’s sneaker line is crafted in Italy over a period of four hours by artisans who also do work for Chanel. The sneaker lines, available for both men and women, start at $148, but can run as high as $368 for a shearling high-top.
The company has attracted attention to the brand through collaborations with tattoo artist JonBoy, the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and surfer Quincy Davis. The limited-edition “Game of Thrones” sneaker was made in gold leather — a nod to the character Jaime Lannister and his golden hand — while the collaboration with the Beverly Hills Hotel features an adaptation in leather of the Martinique Banana Leaf wallpaper print featured in the Hotel’s Polo Lounge in three different sneaker styles. The 50 “Game of Thrones” sneakers were created specifically for winners of its Instagram contest, while Beverly Hills Hotel sneakers are available only at the Hotel.
The out-of-the-box collaborations allow the brand to work both in-store events and digital activations to drive awareness.
Wichert, who is also co-chief executive officer, said that support from the investors indicates “confidence in our brand, mission and growth strategy. We are dedicated to continuing to redefine the modern-day luxury retail experience through a synchronized online and in-store strategy, as we expand our team, product portfolio and physical footprint.”
The company just signed a five-year lease in NoLIta, in Manhattan, which currently houses a pop-up and will open its first West Coast pop-up location in Los Angeles on Melrose Place later this month.
Andrew C. Mitchell, founder of Brand Foundry Ventures, said, “Koio has infused the old-world luxury sector with a modern edge, transforming the leather goods category and the online and in-store luxury shopping experience in a way that has really resonated with consumers in the digital age.”
Mitchell added that the company would likely expand into new categories of footwear and leather accessories this year.