Luxury sneaker brand Koio has raised $9 million in its Series A funding round that began last year.
The New York City-based footwear label raised $3 million in funding in 2018 and added $6 million this year in a round led by Founders Fund, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm that backed Facebook, Airbnb and SpaceX, as well as Acton Capital Partners, Brand Foundry and other companies.
Cofounder and co-chief executive officer Johannes Quodt said the funds will be invested in four areas. “We’re continuing to focus on footwear, but what we’re going to do here is add unique designs and that way offer a more complete product portfolio,” he said. “The second focus is research and development, then we’ll refine our retail portfolio and scale our team, especially on the operational side.”
Koio offers five sneaker silhouettes for men and six for women, all made in Italy by the same artisans that craft Chanel’s leather goods. They retail between $178 and $368. The label is adding another high-top sneaker to the mix this fall, a Chelsea boot, which will be the first nonsneaker in its offering, and a student-designed sneaker collaboration with New York City public school P.S. 149, launching this December. Three footwear styles will be added in spring 2020.
“We’re building a lifestyle brand inspired by what we observe in our community,” Quodt said. “The lines between the professional and personal life are blurring. What we see in our current portfolio is giving our customers pretty broad coverage for any life situation, but we also see a potential to offer additional styles that fill gaps that our shoes don’t cover.”
Koio operates six retail locations in SoHo and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, N.Y., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami, but has plans to move its Miami Design District location to “a more frequented location,” Quodt said. “A year ago we had two stores, so we’re in three times as many locations as a year ago and want to make sure we grow very responsibly.”
Quodt also confirmed interest in eventually launching accessories. Koio offers branded shoe trees for its men’s footwear, and a protect spray and kit by Crep Protect.
Quodt and co-ceo Chris Wischert cofounded Koio in 2015 after meeting at the Wharton School. After launching in 2015, the label raised $1.3 million in seed funding from Steven Alan, which launched a small partnership with the brand, as well as Bonobos cofounder and chief executive officer Andy Dunn, and Bonobos cofounder and former Trunk Club ceo Brian Spaly.