Naadam, the sustainable cashmere company with a can’t-make-this-up backstory, today revealed it has raised $16 million in Series A funding. Private equity firm Vanterra Capital led the round with participation from Silas Chou’s Torch Capital; U-Start Club, a venture capital firm that syndicates investments from Italian and Swiss family offices into global high-growth digital ventures; Trail Post Ventures, and Plug and Play Ventures.
Matthew Scanlan cofounded the brand with Diederik Rijsemus and Hadas Saar in 2015, after Scanlan and Rijsemus decided somewhat on a whim to take a trip to Mongolia, where they ended up tagging along with an American journalist to interview herders in the Gobi Desert and getting stranded there for three weeks. The trip resulted in them disrupting the cashmere supply chain by cutting out the middleman and purchasing directly from the herders, which leads to significantly lower prices and supply chain sustainability.
Headquartered in New York’s SoHo, Naadam now has offices in China and Amsterdam. The company has its own e-commerce and is opening its first store in New York’s West Village in September, with a West Coast store and experimental retail planned for the near future. The collection is comprised of women’s wear, men’s wear and a bit of home. It also has a wholesale business doing private label cashmere collections for retailers. Scanlan, the company’s chief executive officer, noted that Naadam has scaled 300 percent each year for the past three years and the strategy for the Series A investment is to continue to scale while investing in marketing, advertising, brand communication and physical retail.
“The goal for us as a developing brand was to bring in the next level strategic partners to help us continue to scale at the rate we’ve been scaling at,” Scanlan said. “Part of that was finding people who’ve done this before. People who understand from an operational perspective and people who can finance multiple rounds in the future.”
“We like to back authentic brands at the intersection of quality and value,” said Shad Azimi, managing partner at Vanterra Capital, in a statement. “We believe that Naadam is well positioned in the market as they have successfully disintermediated the traditional supply chains and are using an effective e-commerce strategy to target Millennial consumers. Naadam has a unique story and mission statement, and this narrative creates a personal connection with its audience that resonates.”