More than $15 billion worth of luxury shoes are purchased
worldwide each year. But often, the bulk of that money goes to the brand middlemen, while the actual craftsmen live on
less than $5 a day.

Markhor is a company in our current Summer 2015 class that’s disrupting that system. Markhor contracts directly with the same craftsmen who make shoes for some of the top European brands, pays them up to 5 times more, cuts out the middlemen, and passes on 50% in savings to the final customer.

TechCrunch’s Christine Magee wrote about Markhor in a story published this week:

“When you purchase a pair of Markhor shoes, you are immediately looped
into the production, and you receive periodic updates about the
craftsman’s progress. When the shoes arrive, included in the box is a
profile of the craftsman responsible, [Markhor co-founder Waqas] Ali says, which also tells you how
much he makes.’People like to know that these shoes are not made by a child or a
pregnant woman in China,’ says Ali. ‘When you’re buying high-end shoes
from big brands, there are so many layers that you don’t know where the
shoes are made.’

Ali says that Markhor is currently working with 75 craftsmen in Pakistan, and plans to scale up as needed.

‘There are thousands of craftsmen like this in Pakistan, and if you
include India and Africa, where we plan to expand our production, there
are millions,’ he says.”

Read the full story about Markhor in TechCrunch here.