(BIRD) begins trading on the Nasdaq

A woman walks past an Allbirds store in the Georgetown area of ​​Washington, DC on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shoe maker Allbirds rose 90% during its market debut on Wednesday, as the company was valued at approximately $ 4.1 billion.

The company, known for its eco-friendly wool sneakers and slip-ons, opened its first deal at $ 21.21 after it valued 20.2 million shares at $ 15 a day earlier and raised roughly $ 303 million. Allbirds sold 19.2 million shares for between $ 12 and $ 14, ahead of its initial public offering.

The stock closed at $ 28.64 a share, up 91%. The company is now listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker “BIRD”.

The Allbirds listing hopes to attract investors who prioritize companies that focus on sustainability.

“We’ve really gained access to a lot more pockets of capital as a result of people seeing the genuine and genuine leadership we are promoting with ESG,” co-founder and co-CEO Joey Zwillinger told CNBC’s Piercing Box. “I think why the demand was so great … investors were really attracted by the opportunity to invest in a great opportunity to achieve results that were better for the planet.”

The listing follows the public debut of eyewear maker Warby Parker, the IPO of outdoor retailer Solo Brands and fashion rental platform Rent the Runway. This is fueling a wave of trendy, venture-backed retailers that are whetting investor appetites on Wall Street.

When asked what could be compared to the Allbirds business, Zwillinger replied that it is a mixture of traditional retailers with a large number of stores and internet-oriented brands. As of the summer, Allbirds counted only 27 brick and mortar locations, but plans to increase this number by the hundreds.

“It’s complicated. My business is making fantastic shoes, selling them to customers and creating great experiences, ”he said. “The financial part, we will let investors go ahead.”

Allbirds hopes to capitalize on the growing demand, especially among younger buyers, for convenient and sustainable products. She recently launched a sportswear line expanding her product range beyond the popular woolen sneakers. It also sells socks and other accessories.

Shoppers who have bought shoes from Allbirds for a long time are now stocking up on other items and increasing the size of their baskets, Zwillinger said.

“We were really focused on tying people who knew and loved us because of our shoes,” he told CNBC in a separate telephone interview. “And because they understand that we are using these natural materials to create incredibly comfortable shoes, and we can use the same information and use it in clothes.”

But the company has yet to make a profit, which could worry potential investors.

Allbirds had a net loss of $ 14.5 million in 2019 and rose to $ 25.9 million in 2020. according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission

And for the three-month period ending September 30, the net loss is expected to be between $ 15 million and $ 18 million, up from a loss of $ 7 million a year earlier.

“Before the pandemic, we were already very close to breakeven and were on our way to it,” Zwillinger said. “So this is something that is within our reach, and we see a very clear and short-term path, otherwise we would not go public.”

Opening more stores in the US and overseas should help boost profitability, he said.

Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and BofA Securities are the leading underwriters of the Allbirds offering.

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