Plaeto, a health focused, D2C footwear brand for children announced that it has secured INR 40 Crores in Series A round of funding.
The round was led by Florintree Advisors, a Mumbai based financial institution and other marquee investors in the D2C space. The current funding builds on an exceptional year for the direct-to-consumer (D2C) company that launched new product lines, is expanding to newer markets and set new benchmarks in the children’s footwear space.
Bangalore-based start-up, Plaeto was born with a purpose to design and deliver world-class shoes for Indian kids that care for their feet and help them grow strong, active and healthy. Founded in 2020 by Ravi Kallayil, Sara Kilgore and Pavan Kareti, Plaeto is a result of extensive R&D coupled with decades of cumulative knowledge and experience of the three founders in the footwear industry.
In fact, it was this innovation that made India’s cricketing coach and sporting icon – Rahul Dravid – not only agree to endorse the brand but join the group as a strategic mentor and advisor. He was drawn in with the company’s mission to provide accessible, world-class footwear to every Indian child, while protecting the planet that they will inherit.
Rahul Dravid, Strategic Advisor Plaeto commented on this and added, “As brand ambassador and mentor of Plaeto, I’m happy to be a part of a mission that aims at providing Indian children with world-class shoes at an accessible price. By bringing foot health and wellbeing to the mainstream discourse, Plaeto shines light on the importance of “Play” in children’s lives.”
As one of the first companies to drive sustainability to the masses in the global footwear industry, Plaeto shoes have a 50% lower carbon footprint as compared to the average athletic shoe. The shoes are not only kinder to the earth, but they are also lighter than conventional kids’ footwear and super protective of growing feet. A sustainability enthusiast and creative builder at heart, Sara leads the operations at Plaeto’s design center at Portland, Oregon, in the US and ensures that all the performance requirements for the shoes are met in the final product.
Ravi Kallayil, CEO & Co-Founder, Plaeto commenting on the development, said, “As a technology driven D2C footwear brand, we have always focused on science-based shoes and innovation that meets the Indian requirement. While innovations have happened across the board including footwear, children’s footwear, as a category, has remained untouched – without any consumer-centric design or performance built into it. As the world recovers from the pandemic and children get back to schools and playgrounds, it’s important to provide them with a conducive environment that promotes physical activity and the joy of ‘play’ in their lives. As a brand we have invested in the right technology and our design and engineering teams in India, US and Italy have developed a host of proprietary design elements that address the needs of Indian children. With the latest round of funding, we will continue to invest in R&D, enter new territories, and touch more lives through our products.”
Mathew Cyriac, Founder, Florintree Advisors also commented on this and added, “I’m excited and pleased to be on this journey with Plaeto. While there is a large untapped market in the children’s footwear segment, Plaeto has a unique advantage with its innovative Make-in-India product that’s addressing the needs of Indian children and unlocking a massive opportunity in the sector. With the team’s deep knowledge and understanding and ability to innovate and introduce category leading products, Plaeto is well poised to bring a revolution in the children’s footwear market. We wish them luck and hope that they will continue to delight their customers and disrupt the space not just in India but globally”.
The idea of Plaeto was first conceptualized way back in 2011 when Ravi received an unforgettable, handwritten letter from a 10-year-old boy requesting a discount on a Nike shoe. After nearly a decade of pursuit, the alumnus of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore realized that the only way to make it happen was to do it himself. In 2020, amidst the growing pandemic uncertainty, Ravi decided to give up his job with Nike Innovation in Portland, US, and relocate to India to become an entrepreneur. He was joined by Pavan – a seasoned leader with rich experience in launching and developing new businesses, setting up processes and policy frameworks, and operationalizing global retail practices.