LONDON — Thread, the personal styling and e-commerce platform for men’s wear, has raised $22 million in a series B round of funding led by Balderton Capital, Beringea, Forward Partners and H&M Co:Lab, which is part of the H&M group.
On the heels of the funding, the site has forged 50 new partnerships, with brands including Barbour, Hugo Boss and Levi’s. The site already stocks brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Carhartt, Religion, Adidas, Superdry and Ralph Lauren.
Launched in 2012 and founded by Kieran O’Neill, a digital entrepreneur; software designer Ben Kucsan, and digital data expert Ben Phillips, the platform uses a combination of artificial intelligence and professional stylists to help men put looks together and find items that best suit them.
Upon entering the web site, visitors are asked a series of questions, including their favorite brands, preferred styles and how much they usually spend on clothes. The site recommends products tailored to the consumer’s allocated budget.
The platform boasts more than one million users ranging in age from their late 20s to early 40s, and to date it has raised $40 million in funding. It’s now planning a technology boost.
“We’ll be expanding our engineering, data science and design teams and launch a new mobile app that combines personalized recommendations, style advice and editorial content into a seamless, tailored-to-you experience,” O’Neill said.
Thread claims it is taking market share from physical stores and from online retailers that can tend to overwhelm consumers with too many choices. Thread aims to become “the one-stop clothes shopping service in the way that people use Uber to get from A to B, or Spotify to listen to music,” said O’Neill.
“We’re used to having digital services such as Uber, Netflix and Spotify simplify other aspects of our lives, and men are now turning to Thread as their go-to solution for dressing well. We’ve brought on a huge number of new brands to help each of our customers find the perfect clothes for them” said O’Neill, chief executive officer and cofounder of Thread.
The company wants to channel the funds into its efforts to position Thread as a household brand that sits alongside Spotify and Netflix. Plans include improving the in-house creative team and expanding its brand range and delivery experience. To achieve this, Thread has made new hires, including Tim Grimsditch from Spotify, David Scott from Deliveroo and Alex Allcott from American advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy.
O’Neill said the increased brand offering will make it easier for customers to find the right clothes. “We are building an increasingly sophisticated ‘taste graph,’ which allows us to predict which men will be interested in different brands and which allows us to tailor our range even more effectively,” he said.
The platform has built its success upon customer feedback and collaboration and is looking to give back to its most loyal and engaged shoppers.
In the latest round of funding, Thread gave customers the chance to invest in the company through Crowdcube, a crowdfunding platform. “We wanted to hold back some of the round this time to give our customers the opportunity to invest alongside the professionals, on exactly the same financial terms. It feels like a great way to democratize investing and allow our customers to share in our success,” added O’Neill.