D2C eco-friendly shoe brand Neeman’s has raised INR 20 Cr (approximately $2.7 Mn) in a Series A funding round from Sixth Sense Ventures. This funding comes after the startup raised $1 Mn in a seed funding round led by Anicut Investors in March 2020.
Founded in 2018 by Taran Chhabra and Amar Preet, Neeman’s is an online D2C brand that offers eco-friendly footwear. It manufactures a line of shoes — sneakers, loafers, and joggers — made from Merino Wool fibre. According to the website, the price range of its products varies from INR 2,999 to INR 6,999.
The startup will be utilising the funds towards intensive product development, launching in the international markets, expanding categories, and further strengthening its commitment to champion sustainability through research and development of new eco-friendly technologies.
Research & Market reports suggest India’s footwear industry was valued at $9.70 Bn in 2020 and is projected to grow by a CAGR of 8.28% between 2020-2025. Also, the non-leather footwear segment in India is growing at a much faster rate. In India, Neeman’s is competing for market space with other sustainable footwear brands like Paaduks, Nothing New, All Birds, PAIO, Achilles’ Heels, The Cai Store, among others.
On the investment, Nikhil Vora from Sixth Sense Ventures commented, “Within two years, the team has demonstrated great ability to successfully launch innovative products disrupting the US$11bn footwear category. Neeman’s is spearheading the transition to eco-friendly footwear in India, and we believe they are best positioned to carve a niche for themselves in the generic footwear space (akin to Allbirds in the US).”
Commenting on the investment, Chhabra said, “The investment from Sixth Sense Ventures reassures us that we are taking the right steps and strengthens our commitment to providing people with superior quality comfortable, eco-friendly and stylish footwear.”
Chabbra also hinted at the launch of Neeman’s first-of-its-kind sneakers in India, which will be made with a material considered to be a key pollutant.
According to an Inc42 report, India currently has over 800 D2C startups and has over 100 Mn shoppers online. Between 2014 and April 2021, the D2C segment has raised close to $2.04 Bn in funding and the market is expected to grow to $100 Bn by 2025 with the fashion segment showing the highest potentials. Lenskart ($774 Mn), Furlenco ($203.5 Mn), Freshtohome ($152 Mn), Boat ($116.3 Mn) are some of the startups in the D2C segment with the highest fundings to date.