Pensole Footwear Design Academy, based in Portland, OR, raised $4 million in partnership with San Francisco-based Rooy Inc.

“Partnering with Rooy is a huge step in empowering aspiring designers
worldwide to fulfill their dreams of seeing their own designs brought to
market on a global scale,” said Pensole founder D'Wayne Edwards, in a
statement. “Our new partnership will also provide students the
opportunity to experience the entire process from sketch to sampling to
final product.”

The online platform will let aspiring designers submit
designs for Web-based review and voting. Winners will work with San
Francisco-based Rooy and Portland-based Pensole to develop prototypes
and shoes for retail sale.

“Joining forces with Pensole in Portland
will change the game for emerging designers and brands,” Roy founder
Ryan Kang said, in a news release. “Our community members are extremely
supportive of one another, and integrating the Pensole educational
programs and materials into the community will take our pursuit of great
design to a whole new level.”

The money also will be used for
scholarships and to create three new programs, including ones for
business, online and minorities.

Founed in 2010, Pensole has educated
more than 100 aspiring shoe designers. Its graduates are employed by
companies ranging from Columbia Sportswear to Timberland.