Some of the buzz around London’s FashTech scene that was so prominent earlier in the summer has been restored as Thread.com announced this week that it has secured $8m in Series A funding, led by Balderton Capital but also backed by the co-owners of artificial intelligence start-up Deep Mind, which recently bagged investment from Google Ventures, Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman, plus former president of Saks Fifth Avenue Andrew Jennings, and a number of other angel investors.
Thread specifically targets style conscious, time-poor males, helping them to dress well by matching them via a short online quiz to a human stylist, who then provides silhouette images of styles that may suit them. An algorithm subsequently makes recommendations based on the stylist’s guidelines of suitable, available clothing, according to the customer’s budget, building up knowledge around their responses to produce more and more targeted and appropriate recommendations.
Thread does not hold stock preferring to work with established retailers such as Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Jigsaw and Oliver Spencer, and has appointed a new Head of Business Development, Terry Betts, to help increase their number of industry partnerships.
“Thread works by taking the best elements of human stylists — their taste, ability to look at your photo and know what you’ll suit, and answer any questions you may have — and blending them with the best elements of a computer”, says Thread’s founder and CEO, serial entrepreneur Kieran O’Neill, adding ““Most guys want to look good, but don’t like the hassle involved,”
Daniel Waterhouse, partner at Balderton Capital, said: “We invested in Thread because we believe they have the right combination of product design, technology and styling expertise to build a game-changing experience for customers. Men don’t enjoy shopping, despite spending billions of pounds on it every year, and Thread is on a path to make it significantly easier, effective, and perhaps even fun.”
London’s Fash-Tech scene has now completed a number of notable fundraisings, from “Tinder for clothes” app Grabble who completed a $1.8m raising in February this year to fund international expansion, to Nuji, who closed a $2m round in March last year to develop a Lyst style platform for users to curate and share fashion and lifestyle products, and, most famously, Net-a-Porter, whose founder Natalie Massenet raised £1.2m from family and friends to launch the brand from a Chelsea flat, before selling the business to Swiss holding company Richemont for an estimated £50m in in 2010.
Of course it’s not all about funding, and there are a range of exciting companies coming through and making a name for themselves, which you can read about here, and if you can’t decide where’s hotter for FashTech right now, New York or London, try reading this