Bengaluru-based Plaeto, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) footwear brand for children, has raised Rs 40 crore (nearly $5 million) in a Series A round of funding led by former Blackstone India private equity co-head Mathew Cyriac’s Florintree Advisors and other investors.
Plaeto, which designs and delivers high-quality footwear, was founded in March 2020 by Ravi Kallayil, Sara Kilgore and Pavan Kareti.
Funds from the latest round will be deployed to accelerate the company’s strategic expansion to newer markets and product innovation and to leverage technology to deepen its consumer-first approach.
Plaeto has designed a host of proprietary elements for children’s growing feet. These include FitSystem, which contains a proprietary Fitliner that gives an additional size from the same product, without compromising on fit, comfort and performance; Plaeto365, a midsole that is responsive, supportive, and comfortable even after a year of usage and Plaeto FitWiz, which leverages technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to recommend the best fit for every child.
“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 Kallayil, chief executive officer of Plaeto, who worked at Nike Innovation before starting the company.
The startup now works with some leading schools and educational institutes through its channels and online marketplaces such as Amazon, Myntra and Flipkart. Its consumer-facing D2C platform has also been witnessing strong growth since its launch in September 2021, Kallayil said.
“The company 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,” he said.