Direct-to-consumer (DTC) shoe brand Atoms, which offers sizes in quarters instead of halves, and also lets customers buy different sizes for each foot, has raised $8.1 million in a Series A funding round, according to a report.
The company will use the money to continue investing in its shoes and to grow its marketing and retail presence. The company sells directly through its website. It recently had a waiting list of around 40,000 people.
The round was led by Initialized Capital, which was started by Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan, who met the Atoms founders through a Y Combinator startup. Also participating in the round were Kleiner Perkins, Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin, Acumen Founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, TED Curator Chris Anderson, rapper Chamillionaire and previous investors Aatif Awan and Shrug Capital.
The company’s shoes are intentionally simple in style.
“We will make only one shoe design a year, but we want to make that really well,” said Co-founder Sidra Qasim.
Ohanian said he truly believed in the shoes. “The thing that I love about Atoms is that it isn’t just a different look, it’s a different feel,” he said. “When I put on a pair for the first time, it was a totally unique experience. Atoms are more comfortable by an order of magnitude than any other shoe I’ve tried, and they quickly became the go-to shoe in my rotation whenever I was stepping out. That wouldn’t mean anything if the shoes didn’t look great. Luckily, that’s not a problem; I wear my Atoms all the time and even my fashion designer wife is a fan.”
Atoms said offering shoes in quarter sizes instead of regular sizes wasn’t as hard to accomplish as people might think. “We thought it would be challenging, and it wasn’t unchallenging, but the good thing was that many manufacturers were already starting to think about this,” noted CEO Waqas Ali. “Think about it – there has been almost no innovation in shoe-making in the last 30 or 40 years.”