PITTSBURGH, Oct. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Shoefitr, an early-stage technology company that helps online shoe shoppers find the right fit, has received $1.2 million in funding from Maryland-based Vital Financial LLC and Pittsburgh investor network BlueTree Allied Angels. Innovation Works, a seed-stage investor in Pittsburgh-area startups, also participated in the round.
Shoefitr has been growing steadily since spinning out of Carnegie Mellon University and 'graduating' from AlphaLab, one of the country's top accelerator programs which is run by Innovation Works. "This investment will allow us to accelerate our momentum," said Shoefitr CEO Matt Wilkinson. "We currently have a number of great customers and partnerships with shoe manufacturers such as New Balance, Saucony, Brooks and other top brands. In fact, we're on-site right now implementing several new customers. This round of funding will help us get the message out about our offering to more potential customers and partners. We are just scratching the surface with what kind of virtual fitting implementations we can offer consumers and this funding will help us achieve our full capability."
The company's easy-to-use shoe fitting application has been embraced by the running community which accesses Shoefitr on the sites of popular media like Runner's World. Shoefitr is also rapidly expanding to other footwear categories. Shoefitr's list of customers include RunningWarehouse.com and Netshoes, the largest online footwear retailer in Brazil, with launches on Brooks Running and Rebel Sports, the largest sporting goods retailer in Australia, to follow. "Vital Financial is very pleased to make this initial $500,000 investment in Shoefitr to help them finance the company's rapid customer and partnership growth," said Craig Asher, a Principal at Vital Financial LLC. "We look forward to the opportunity to add more financing to keep the company's momentum going."
Returns of online shoe purchases are a huge downside of the industry -- in 2008, one in three shoes purchased online was returned, costing retailers over $600 million in lost sales. Shoefitr uses 3D scanning technology to scan the insides of shoes from various manufacturers. Each scan provides measurements pertinent to fitting a shoe to a foot. An online shopper finds a shoe he or she wants to buy and Shoefitr automatically compares the measurements of the shoe the customer currently wears to the correct size in the new shoe. Fitting tools show how the new shoe will fit so shoppers' personal preferences are accommodated.
"BlueTree was attracted to Shoefitr because it's got a unique technology to tackle a big industry problem," said Catherine Mott, President & CEO of BlueTree Allied Angels. "This is a great management team and we're excited to be part of the round."
SOURCE Innovation Works, Inc.