Home of the “DARPA” hoodie, the “Bike To Work” pants, the “Disco” shorts, the “Cornucopia” backpack, the “Vagisoft (yes)” blanket and the TSA-proof “Privates” underwear, Betabrand is an online-only marketplace for unconventional clothes in the same eclectic e-commerce space as Modcloth and Threadless.
The company’s emphasis on original in-house designs, in addition to its 100K-200K in monthly revenue, certainly piqued the interest of O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures which led Betabrand’s $1.3 million Series A round followed by Morado Ventures this week. Along with the recent financing, OATV’s Mark Jacobsen will be joining the Betabrand board.
The San Francisco-based Betabrand has 12 employees who come up with the quirky designs and complete the production on items like “Sons of Britches” or the “Harvester Collection”(launched today) in-house. The company releases between 4-6 designs a month, manufacturing locally and in small batches.
Founder Chris Lindland likens the design process to a startup being in beta, hence the Betabrands name, “We have an iterative process that resembles beta development of websites, and that might be a disruptive idea in the world of fashion … Businesses like Zara and H&M jam out new products all the time, but they’re following fashion. We put out a new product every week. It creates a non-stop idea machine.”
Lindland plans on using the new financing to speed up the production process to 12-16 products a month and add a women’s line in the fall. He also wants to crowdsource more of the designs and expand on the “Model Citizen” program where customers send in pictures of themselves modeling Betabrand designs for use in actual campaigns.
So what’s Lindlands take on a VC firm investing in what is essentially a clothing company, “E-Commerce is such an exploding area, and there aren’t really companies failing at it. There will be a ton of online clothing brands that pop up over the next year. The next Quicksilver or the next Patagonia is going to start on the internet.”