[Funding alert] Sustainable footwear startup Neeman’s raises Rs 20 Cr in Series A round from Sixth Sense Ventures

The company will utilise the funds towards intensive product development, launching Neeman’s in international markets, expansion of categories and further strengthening their commitment to the planet.
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Hyderabad-based Neeman's an eco-conscious footwear brand on Wednesday announced that it raised Rs 20 crore (approximately $ 2.7 million) in a Series A round led by Sixth Sense Ventures.

The company will be utilising the funds towards intensive product development, launching Neeman’s in international markets, expansion of categories, and further strengthening their commitment to the planet and being a champion of sustainability through research and development of new eco-friendly technologies.

Founded in 2018 by first-generation entrepreneurs — Taran Chhabra and Amar Preet — Neeman’s claims that its shoes are natural, lightweight, flexible, breathable, moisture-wicking, odour-resistant, cool in summer and warm in winter, and machine-washable.

It uses natural fibres like Merino Wool in shoemaking, thus leaving a permanent imprint on the FMCG market.

Taran Chhabra, Founder and CEO of Neeman’s, said,

"We are elated that Neeman's in a short period has successfully reinvigorated the Indian footwear industry and created the position for 'The Most Comfortable Shoes' in the country for itself. We are delighted to have Sixth Sense Ventures partner with us in our journey of being the first sustainable footwear brand in India."

"The investment from our new partner, 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 footgear," he added.

“We are excited about our soon-to-be collection, which is made with a material that is so far considered to be a key pollutant. Without revealing much, can say, the shoe is a first-of-its-kind sneaker in India and will change how Indian's wear shoes," said Chhabra.

On the investment, Nikhil Vora from Sixth Sense Ventures commented, 

"Neeman's story is in sync with the Sixth Sense investment philosophy of betting on first-generation founders, disrupting large consumer categories, building brands catering to the consumer preferences of tomorrow. We at Sixth Sense have a strong belief that the next few years will witness the advent of a new class of consumers making bold choices with regard to environment-friendly and sustainable products. The same will create a rub-off on challenger brands in deep categories (such as alternate meat, footwear, among others).

"Our partnership with Neeman's underpins this belief, with the brand has created a strong affinity among new-age conscious consumers. 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)."

Within the last year, Neeman launched new-age products like sustainable flips flops, slides, and recycled cotton sneakers. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the startup claims to have witnessed an explosive growth of 600 percent last year.

"Since the beginning of our journey, Neeman's has aimed to move away from the norm and challenge the status quo of the Indian footgear industry. Our shoes and slippers, made with Merino Wool, Organic cotton and renewable materials, have consistently reiterated our brand ethos and vision for the future. Our mantra is comfort and sustainability, and every product, existing and new, will stand by it, every time. We are excited about the funding raised and geared up to bring our customers a more exciting line-up," added Amar Preet, Co-founder of Neeman's.

The firm had raised its last round of funding last year from Anicut Angel Fund, the equity arm of Anicut Capital.

"Post investment, it has been an even more heartening journey to see how they have dealt with the COVID crisis and come out with flying colours, in terms of growth, supply chain management and product quality. The brand resonates strongly with its ethos for cutting edge design; sustainability; and a zero-waste ecosystem," added Tushar Singh, Anicut Investor, representing Anicut Investors on Board.

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