End-user start-ups – Products that use the Internet to bypass third-party and retail marketplaces to engage with their customers and sell directly to their customers – were one of the largest growth categories in the E world -Commerce and today announced one of the start-ups who have created and proven the model, a large round of financing to take his business to the next level.
ThirdLove, which began with bras and today produces and sells a variety of lingerie and underwear products for a variety of female shapes and sizes – in part through technologies developed with a smartphone camera to size products and to propose – $ 55 million was raised for funding.
Managing Director Heidi Zak, who co-founded the company with her husband David Spector (both former Google managers), said in an interview that the money will be used to help ThirdLove get even more sizes than that Add 78 offered today ("a bra for every body" is the term they use s); She grew up in three new areas: retail, international markets and category expansion in areas such as swimming and sportswear.
Not all of them will possibly go online next year, she added strategies for all three.
This round raises ThirdLove's valuation to as much as $ 750 million, a tremendous boost, considering that the start-up has only raised approximately $ 68 million since its inception in 201
As impressive as this review sounds, so too is the list of backers in this latest cash infusion. It is jointly managed by L. Catterton, which is partly owned by the luxury goods groups LVMH and Groupe Arnault. and investment bank Allen & Company. Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, will also be there. her sister Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube; Broadcaster Katie Couric; Nancy Peretsman, Managing Director of Allen & Company; Tim Armstrong, former CEO of Oath and AOL (who is taking a big step in DTC himself); Jeff Keswin; Michael Zeisser, former US chairman at Alibaba; Felicis Ventures and Valor Equity. (Existing investors include Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Yuri Milner, and Keith Rabois.)
"I'm a big fan of ThirdLove's mission to build a brand for every woman, regardless of their shape, size, age, ethnicity and history Gender identity or sexual orientation, "Anne Wojcicki said in a statement. "ThirdLove promotes reality over fantasy and shows the spectacular beauty of all sizes, shapes and colors of women."
It's a fair question to ask how and why a bra company attracts the attention of tech investors and why TechCrunch (or other) Publication) could write about it as a tech startup.
The first answer is the most general (but possibly the most important one, since we expect to penetrate our daily coverage of TC). Any business today is potentially a tech company, and any industry is potentially a tech industry. That is, we have weathered the point where virtually every business or industry can be built with a technical approach to underpin the product itself. or to help deliver this product to the world in a way that is better than what it used to be ThirdLove does both.
The product itself has driven the development of modern apparel manufacturing through the growing use of smartphones and online shopping, as well as the development of AI-based computer vision.
To get a bra with the ThirdLove app, a woman takes some selfies to formulate the best bra size for her body. "Best size" has meanwhile got a new meaning. In the past women with unusual proportions would have had to buy bras from ad hoc bra manufacturers – time-consuming and expensive.
However, ThirdLove uses big-data analytics to essentially assemble the long tail and finish the search for a single person from many people to sum up a picture and sum up images of all the busts to aid the design of the bras through more precise manufacturing techniques are performed.
Thus, ThirdLove still creates both more individualized and custom parts to reach the crucial metric of e-commerce, economies of scale.
The second way in which ThirdLove uses technology is for what Zak calls "use of data for the market". It's a big buyer of Facebook ads that thinks it could turn into a customer, and it leads to a broader customer experience, both in recommending items and creating an efficient way to search and buy.
"We use the data we collect from Fit Finder" – this is the measurement tool in his app – "to create a better physical product and individual sizes, and then we use the data to create a better digital product experience" Zak said. "We do it all in a way that more traditional retailers do not do."
Indeed, the old one was highlighted with great impact compared to the new one last year, when ThirdLove carried out an advertising campaign against the CEO of the much larger Victoria's Secret in an interview against the company. It therefore happened that the CEO also used the same interview for other outdated statements that were not well received by investors and the public, and eventually he was resigned. ThirdLove did not completely make his departure, but his star definitely rose in the aftermath of the whole controversy.
Zak said the resulting attention, which took place in November, could have had an impact. "We are not traditional gift shops, but then suddenly we had a stronger November and December," she said.
With the new tools and strategy, it's worth watching how ThirdLove develops products on the road. At present, the company has only distribution in the US, although there are already a large number of orders from abroad. The plan is to build more facilities in various international markets on-site to seize the opportunity with this interest.
Likewise, the entry into the retail trade should be interesting. So far, the only work the firm has done in brick-and-mortar stores has been in pop-up stores that are not about selling goods, but just spreading the world. Zak and Spector want to keep some of their app-based, individualized experiences in every kind of physical retail store. It's not clear what that would look like, but it could potentially mean ThirdLove concessions in stores that match those in the cosmetics department, where customers are directly consulted and sold by individuals representing individual brands.