Using a mixture of algorithms and human stylists, London-based Thread works on the premise that a lot of men hate clothes shopping, however much they like stylish attire.
The online styling service claims 200,000 customers since it was founded in 2012 and has this week hit a significant funding milestone with the closure of an $8 million Series A round led by Balderton Capital.
Other notable investors include Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman, co-founders of Google-owned DeepMind, the artificial intelligence startup the search giant acquired for over £400 million last year.
In addition are a number of backers from the word of retail including Andrew Jennings (former President of Saks Fifth Avenue), Sebastian Picardo (Chief Retail Officer at Lane Crawford) and Maurice Helfgott (former Board Director at M&S).
A quick reminder of how Thread works. You join the site and take a style questionnaire and upload photos of yourself. A stylist then reviews your information and, supported by Thread’s algorithms, the site generates style recommendations personalised for you, claiming to take into account over 50 elements of style, from eye colour and body shape to brand, fit, and fabric. You then rate the items and the service promises to become smarter and more personalised over time.
Meanwhile, Thread says that the funds will be used to grow its customer base. The startup is also announcing that Terry Betts, who was previously part of the founding team at Mr. Porter and most recently Buying Director at Selfridges for its menswear division, will join Thread as Head of Business Development.
In his new role he’ll be charged with expanding Thread’s industry partnerships, which already include fashion retailers such as Liberty, Harvey Nichols and Urban Outfitters, and brands such as Sunspel, Hardy Amies, Richard James, YMC, Folk, Oliver Spencer and Jigsaw.