FCTRY LAb is a BIPOC-led, LA-based footwear prototyping lab and venture studio aiming to democratize sneaker production and open-source innovation for emerging and established designers and brands of all sizes.
FCTRY LAb’s fundraise for their launch on December 15th is one of 2022’s largest investments in a Black Founder.
Founded by Omar Bailey (Former Head of Yeezy-Adidas Innovation Lab) and Abhishek Som (Former Wall Street & Private Equity Executive), FCTRY LAb is an independent innovation studio that is US-based to avoid the risks and delays of overseas supply chains, thus shrinking product development time from 8-12 months to a short 1-3 months.
Making high-technology accessible, FCTRY LAb is working to provide equity in an industry where large sneaker corporations often make an overwhelming majority of profits off the creative power of minority designers, influencers and athletes.
This initial $6 Million tranche included a diverse group of venture capital firms, top professional athletes and a myriad of pedigreed angel investors. Investors include the Co-Founder of Tinder (via Time Zero Capital), Co-Founder of WeWork, the West Coast Head of Warburg Pincus, and a consortium of NBA & NFL stars via Chicago-based Aurelien Capital.
Venture capital investment was led by the LA-based, Pay-Pal-backed Slauson & Co, with additional investment from Relay Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures (the private investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group), Level One Fund & Fog City Capital among others.
Omar Bailey helped transition the gap from cutting edge conceptual design into physically wearable footwear during the $1 Billion revenue growth of Yeezy-Adidas. With over 20 years of global product development and manufacturing practice as a design engineer, his other experiences include developing footwear for entertainers such as Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, athletes such as Karim Benzema and working alongside culturally-impactful brands like Supreme, New Balance, K-Swiss & Timberland. Satyan Gohil, also a footwear prototyping and development veteran at Yeezy-Adidas, has joined FCTRY LAb as Head of Innovation. In a short period of time FCTRY LAb has already designed, prototyped and manufactured multiple lines of collaborative footwear with top design and brand partners and a reigning Super-Bowl winner.