FCTRY LAb is a BIPOC-led, Los Angeles-based footwear prototyping lab and venture studio that aims to democratize sneaker production and open-source innovation for emerging and established designers and brands of all sizes. FCTRY LAb’s fundraising campaign, launched on December 15th, is one of the largest investments in Black Founder in 2022.
Independent Innovation Studio was co-founded by Omar Bailey, former head of Yeezy-Adidas Innovation Lab, and Abhishek Som, a former Wall Street and private equity executive. The studio is located outside the United States to avoid supply chain disruptions and delays. This reduces product development time to 1-3 months, which would otherwise be reduced to 8-12 months.
Like the near-monopoly eyewear industry, the big sneaker companies often control the vast majority of the profits fueled by the creativity exploited by minority designers, influencers and athletes. FCTRY LAb is working to change this reality by advancing equity and transformative technologies that overturn the mechanisms that made this possible in the first place.
The initial $6 million segment included various venture capital firms, top professional athletes, and countless pure angel investors. Investors include Tinder’s co-founder (via Time Zero Capital), we workWest Coast Head of Warburg Pincus, and a Consortium NBA & NFL From the stars of Chicago-based Aurelien Capital.
Venture Capital Funded by Los Angeles-based Paypal-support Slauson And additional investment from Relay Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures (the private investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group), Level One Fund and Fog City Capital, among others.
As Yeezy-Adidas grows $1 billion in revenue, Omar Bailey helps bridge the gap from pioneering conceptual designs to functional wearable footwear. Bailey has developed footwear for entertainers and athletes including Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Karim Benzema. With over 20 years of experience, he has worked with culturally unique brands such as Supreme, New Balance, K-Swiss and Timberland.