Bengaluru-based Plaeto, a direct-to-consumer footwear brand for kids and adults, has raised Rs 40 crore in a Series A funding round led by former Blackstone India private equity co-head Mathew Cyriac’s Florintree Advisors and other investors.
According to the company’s statement, the raised capital will accelerate the company’s strategic expansion to newer markets and product innovation and leverage technology to deepen its consumer-first approach.
Ravi Kallayil, Sara Kilgore, and Pavan Kareti co-founded Plaeto in March 2020. The startup says it has designed a host of proprietary elements for children’s growing feet. These include FitSystem, which contains a proprietary Fitliner that yields an additional size from the same product, and Plaeto365, which is a midsole that is responsive, supportive, and comfortable even after a year of usage.
Plaeto, in its third product FitWiz, leverages technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to recommend the best fit for children. Presently, The startup works with some leading schools and educational institutes through its B2B2C channel, and all top marketplaces such as Amazon, Myntra, and Flipkart.
“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,” said Ravi Kallayil, CEO of Plaeto, who worked at Nike Innovation before starting the company.
According to Ravi, the platform is seeing a high level of interest from schools and from online channels. “We are seeing double digital growth month-on-month online. We would like to serve five million consumers in the next five years,” Kallayil said.
“We already have offline distribution to serve the school market. We have received strong interest from a few of the largest offline players in the Indian market and we are working through that. Our goal is to have an even split between the offline and online parts of our business in the next five years,” Kallayil adds.
In November last year, Plaeto onboarded former cricketer Rahul Dravid as Brand Ambassador and Mentor.