Allbirds’ IPO filing today, a week after Warby Parker filed to go public, means that we’re going to have two big consumer brand names hitting the public market in the last few months of the year. It will be something of a parallel to the end of 2020, when shares of DoorDash and Airbnb began trading on Wall Street. Not that investors are likely to greet Allbirds and Warby Parker with the same level of exuberance as DoorDash and Airbnb enjoyed.
It would be hard to argue that either Allbirds or Warby Parker have created dramatically new versions of a service or product, in the same way that Airbnb, for instance, has reinvented the hospitality sector. Despite its efforts to cast itself as an environmentally-friendly digital disruptor, Allbirds is essentially a shoe store. For all its millennial appeal, Warby Parker is just an eyeglass retailer. The best comparison to both is Casper Sleep—and given that its stock has fallen by more than half since its IPO at the start of last year, that’s not a parallel either company will be happy to draw.