As of April 6, Vivobarefoot, the brand of minimalist shoes with patented ultra-thin soles controlled by Galahad Clark, had secured over £1.2 million (€1.5m-$1.7m) from 1,121 investors with just one day remaining to invest, far exceeding its previously set goal of £750,000 (€625,678-$711,383). The largest single investment so far stands at £150,000 (€187,676-$213,407).
Investors pledging more than £2,000 (€2,494-$2,835) will receive a 3D scan and print of their feet plated in bronze, silver or gold. Those investing £50,000 (€62,367-$70,833) will be invited to go on a shareholder expedition trip with leading outdoor survival experts.
To support the overfunding, additional equity has been released, leading to a total of 6.29 percent equity on offer, up from the initial target of 4 percent.
The London-based shoe brand went to Crowdcube Capital, a U.K.-focused equity crowdfunding platform, in March to seek investment as it prepared to expand.
Founded by Galahad Clark, a sixth-generation member of the Clarks shoe-making dynasty, Vivobarefoot, which operates as a separate business, has sold more than a million pairs of shoes boasting a barefoot feel since it was launched as a stand-alone brand in 2012. A cousin, Asher Clark, is the head designer at Vivobarefoot.
The brand has come a long way since it was first conceptualized in 1999 and the first shoe was released in 2004.Today, Vivobarefoot is a brand with a complete collection for off-road running, exercising, everyday use and children. It has been profitable for the last two years, with turnover of nearly £10 million (€12.5m-$14.2m) and growing at 30 percent a year.
Over the last three years, the company's e-commerce volume hit 10,000 units per year and is projected to increase to 70,000 units this year.
At an “Invest in Feet” event held in Vivobarefoot's office in London's Farringdon district on March 15, Galahad Clark said why he believes in the £18 million (€22.5m-$25.6m) valuation being given to his company.
“This is less than two times turnover and we consider this to be reasonable for a global brand with 30 percent growth, positive Ebitda and a relatively low risk profile; from extended proof of concept, patented technology, a digital business model with a strong foothold in key markets: U.K., U.S., German-speaking European countries and Scandinavia.”
He pointed out that Vivobarefoot has a strong management team that includes Nick Beart, financial director, formerly with Green & Blacks and JP Boden & Co, as well as Andrew Peters, commercial director, who has served as managing director of Puma U.K.
Galahad and Asher Clark have also uploaded a series of videos on Vimeo where they discuss the state of the business and describe some of the things the money raised will be used for.
The funds raised will go toward an upgraded e-commerce experience backed up by an offline experience as well as investments in the U.S. market, the children's range, an enhanced supply chain, sustainable shoemaking and an “indestructible super shoe.”
To grow the brand, Vivobarefoot expects to raise investments in marketing from £1.5 million (€1.9m-$2.1m) in the financial year ending next June 30 up to a target of £5 million (€6.2m-$7.1m) annually by 2020.
Vivobarefoot hopes to increase turnover from £9.5 million (€11.9m-$13.5m) this year to £29 million (€36.3m-$41.2m) in 2019.
Crowdfunding appears to be a popular fundraising model these days in the shoe industry. This past January, Sven Segal, founder and designer of Po-Zu, a London-based ethical footwear brand, successfully raised £199,940 (€249,033-$282,701) on Crowdcube, 33 percent above target. Segal has been associated with Vivobarefoot in the past.
In the U.S., Simple Shoes is attempting a comeback after obtaining funds through a Kickstarter campaign last year. The casual footwear label recently sold by Deckers Brands, which was a hit in the ‘nineties, exceeded its funding goal by nearly 500 percent, raising a total of $121,508.