DIS, an Italian startup that offers high-end customized shoes, raised €330,000 in a capital increase achieved through a crowdfunding campaign launched last September (see Shoe Intelligence Vol.20 n°19+20 of Oct. 20, 2018) and direct investments by two business incubators, B Heroes and The Hive.

The new shareholders control 7.35 percent of the company's capital, while the combined stake of the three founders – Andrea Carpineti, Francesco Carpineti and Michele Luconi – has been reduced to 60.16 percent. The business angels who helped them at the start saw their combined stake drop to 32.49 percent.

The proceeds stemming from crowdfunding alone totaled €265,000, which was largely above the originally set minimum of €100,000 but below the maximum target of €400,000. The company expects to hold another financing round of about €2 million toward the end of this year or in early 2020, with the ambition of attracting private equity funds that shunned previous cash calls because the company was below their investment threshold.

The funds should enable DIS to finance its expansion. The company is targeting sales of €1.44 million this year, up from €496,000 in 2018, a gross margin of €493,816 compared with €199,365 and Ebitda of €44,013 versus €633.

The pre-tax loss is forecast to more than double to €132,238 due to higher depreciation. DIS forecast more than €605,000 in investments this year, of which 31 percent have been allocated to offline marketing and 23 percent to online marketing. The company gets 20 percent of its revenues on its proprietary website, where the shopping basket averages €370-400 and generates a net margin of €123.

The funds will also be used to reduce production lead times, currently established at 10 days. The company's ultimate target is to cut manufacturing time to just four days.

At the end of 2018, the company had 18,800 registered users online and 54 corners, of which 24 were managed by its local partner in China, the upmarket apparel retailer Hanbond.

In January, DIS opened its showroom in Milan to meet buyers and to sell shoes to end users. It has affiliated five new stores, three of them in Europe, with the partnerships scheduled to become operational from April 1. At the recent Micam show in Milan, the company said it was in talks to add six more points of sale to its network.

At the end of January, DIS launched its first collection of women's shoes, consisting of six models of low-heel shoes. It plans to expand the range, but the focus this year will remain the men's collection. At the Micam trade show, the firm launched its first line of sneakers in response to the market demand for this kind of products.

Meanwhile, DIS has hired two salespeople to cover Northern Europe and the Middle East, doubling its in-house sales force, which is complemented by two distributors in South Korea and Japan.