Early-stage consumer investing is not a skill in spreadsheets or market evaluation. It is a business of investing in people. There will always be pivots and trials when trying to build some great. So, it requires “non-normal” founders to push through that hardship. When we find those people, we support them through thick and thin. When we met Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger, we saw two extraordinary people who were non-normal in all the best ways.
Yes, Allbirds had a plan to become the provider of the world’s most comfortable shoe. And yes, the company also had a plan to do so in a way that delivered on its mission of sustainability. We thought those were great ideas! But what made us excited to invest were that Joey and Tim were clearly two highly complementary individuals who had built an efficacious partnership.
After our initial meeting on May 5th 2016, Tim and Joey presented Allbirds to the firm on May 23rd, and we gave them a term sheet by the end of the month. The deal ended up closing in July of that same year. After that, we joined the board, the company scaled rapidly going from concept to a fully-fledged product line made with New Zealand’s finest wool. We remain partners on their board to this day.
Building a generational consumer company is never a journey of ease. It is growth - in fits and stutters, in collapses and rebirth - that entrepreneurs build a consumer brand that lasts. We partnered with Allbirds when it was at obscurity and remained through ubiquity. We remain committed to being devoted partners to the future.