Fashion start-up Threads raises $20m, targets US, Asia growth
Threads, a London-based fashion start-up pioneering chat commerce, has raised $20 million in series A from C Ventures, which backs Moda Operandi, and Highland Europe, one of Matchesfashion.com’s biggest investors.
The funding will help the start-up, which currently has 90 employees, hire at least 50 more people this year and open offices in Hong Kong and New York. It comes after four years of strong growth, with sales doubling every year.
Threads is using social media networks including WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and WeChat to help millennials find luxury outfits and accessories. It interacts with customers in a personalised and immediate way, sourcing and delivering clothing, jewellery and accessories to anywhere in the world. To achieve this, it has direct agreements with luxury brands and suppliers so that it can obtain the required products quickly, sometimes in less than half an hour.
Sophie Hill, CEO, said: “People want something that is akin to a retail experience but they want it through their mobiles and they want unparalleled convenience and availability. Social media is already driving much higher levels of brand engagement than traditional digital channels have been able to and we see this increasing in the future, as social becomes the default channel for fashion trends, styling and commerce.”
Tony Zappala, partner at Highland Europe, added: “We are seeing more and more that customers want to shop from their mobile device through channels such as Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, WhatsApp and so on. This trend is being led by Asia where millennials and Generation Z are rapidly becoming the biggest market. In Threads, Sophie has built a great business which has pioneered this trend and has assembled a team of very high calibre people who are anticipating the way the market will evolve and building a great tech product to serve it.”
The luxury retailer said 70% of its clients are under 35, serving a segment that will account for 45% of global luxury spending by 2025 according to Bain & Co.
In addition to targeting more growth in the US and Asia, the company is working on building AI-powered chat bots.
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