FCTRY LAb is a BIPOC-led venture studio and shoe prototype lab situated in Los Angeles that seeks to democratize sneaker production and open-source innovation for small and large-scale businesses and new designers. One of the biggest investments in a Black Founder for 2022 will be made as part of FCTRY LAb’s fundraising for their launch on December 15. FCTRY LAb is an independent innovation studio with a US base that was established by Omar Bailey; Former Head of Yeezy-Adidas Innovation Lab and Abhishek Som; Former Wall Street & Private Equity Executive to avoid the risks and delays of overseas supply chains, reducing product development time from 8-12 months to a brief 1-3 months.
FCTRY LAb works to offer equality in a business where huge sneaker manufacturers frequently generate an overwhelming majority of profits off the creative potential of minority designers, influencers, and athletes by making high-technology accessible. Top professional sportsmen, prestigious venture capital companies, and a plethora of reputable angel investors were all represented in this initial $6 million tranche. A group of NBA and NFL players have invested through Chicago-based Aurelien Capital, along with the co-founder of Tinder through Time Zero Capital, the co-founder of WeWork, the West Coast Head of Warburg Pincus. The Los Angeles-based, PayPal-backed Slauson & Co. spearheaded the venture capital investment, with participation from other investors including Relay Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures, the private investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group, Level One Fund, and Fog City Capital.
Omar Bailey assisted in bridging the $1 billion sales increase of Yeezy-Adidas between cutting edge conceptual design and practically worn footwear. His other experiences include creating footwear for celebrities like Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, athletes like Karim Benzema, and working with culturally significant brands like Supreme, New Balance, K-Swiss, and Timberland. He has over 20 years of experience in global product development and manufacturing. Satyan Gohil, a former Yeezy-Adidas employee with experience in footwear prototyping and development, has joined FCTRY LAb as Head of Innovation. In a short amount of time, FCTRY LAb has already created, prototyped, and produced a number of lines of footwear in collaboration with renowned design and brand partners as well as a current Super Bowl champion. – Steve Sijenyi