A Pakistani e-commerce brand and one of the trailblazers in the world of footwear, Atoms, has raised $8.1 million from a list of illustrious backers to bring its concept to the masses, TechCrunch has reported.
The company since its beginning has been selling directly to consumers in the United States via its website — which at one point had a waiting list of nearly 40,000 people — and the idea will be to fold in other experiences, including selling from physical spaces in the future.
The company plans to use the funding to invest in further development of its shoes and to expand its retail and marketing presence.
The list of investors is being led by Initialized Capital, the investment firm started by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan.
They had first encountered Atoms and its co-founders, Sidra Qasim and CEO Waqas Ali, as mentors when the husband-wife duo was going through Y Combinator with their previous high-end shoe startup, Markhor.
“The thing that I love about Atoms is that it isn’t just a different look, it’s a different feel,” said Ohanian adding that when he put on a pair for the first time, it was a “totally unique experience”.
Even before the recent achievement of closing a Series A, the startup has come a long way on a relative shoestring with just around $560,000 in seed funding and some of the founders’ own savings.
Atoms built a supply chain of companies that would make the materials and shoes that it wanted and developed a gradual but strong marketing pipeline with influential people in tech, fashion and design.
Currently the shoes sell for $179 a pair, which is not cheap and puts them at the high end of the market, so it will be interesting to see how and if price points evolve as it matures as a business, and competitors big and small begin to catch onto the idea of selling their own footwear at a wider range of sizes.