Children’s Footwear Startup Jbrds Secures $500,000 in New Seed Funding

Children’s footwear brand Jbrds has secured $500,000 in new seed funding, which now values the Baltimore-based startup at $5 million.

Co-founded by podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Jay LeBow; former sports industry veteran at Mizuno and Adidas Mike Gugat; and top sporting goods merchant David Hirshfeld, Jbrds offers kid’s shoes anatomically designed to support foot structure and activity requirements at four distinct stages of a child’s physical development.

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“After reviewing hundreds of x-rays and evaluating the current offering of generic kids’ footwear, it was clear there was a need in the footwear industry Jbrds could fill,” chief product officer Dr. LeBow said in a statement. “Now, every child can start on the right foot with shoes designed for their developmental needs and crafted with clinical expertise.”

This seed funding round comes on the heels of the Baltimore-based startup launching its first product line of Stand2Walk shoes in July 2022, designed for children ages 9 to 18 months old.

According to Jbrds, its Stand2Walk shoes feature an Injection-molded support, Velcro strap, sock-like upper, and a suede and a zero-drop outsole. Its Stand2Walk patent-pending design aims to support the young wearer’s lateral column and developing cuboid bone while stabilizing the heel.

“We’re here to finally put an end to outfitting babies and young children with adult shoes shrunk down to fit kids’ feet,” CEO Gugat added. “Our mission is to start kids off on the right foot, and Jbrds is leaving the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to children’s footwear behind. We’re meeting kids’ needs from cradle to eight years old to avoid possible problems later in life from wearing ill-fitting, or simply the wrong shoes as a child.”

Looking ahead, Jbrds said it will introduce ranges for all developmental phases of kids’ lives. These will include the Walk2Run (ages 18 months to 3 years), Run2Play (ages 3 to 5 years) and GoPlay (ages 5 to 8 years) collections.

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