Yorkshire startup Heat sets blazing trail with $5m investment
Yorkshire entrepreneur Joe Wilkinson is setting a blazing trail with mystery fashion box startup Heat - today announcing a $5m (£3.6m) investment.
Backers include global venture capital investor Antler and LVMH Luxury Ventures.
Other strategic angel investors include Spotify's Sven Ahrens, French luxury design house the Hermès family, Stefano Rosso of OTB Group, the parent company of the fashion brands Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf, Staff International and Brave Kid, along with Michael Mitterlehner (L Catterton) and Oliver Merkel (Flink).
HEAT's online customers buy designer label fashion items, not usually discounted, but they don't know what they will get - only the size - until their mystery box arrives in the post.
And the lucky dip concept is proving to be one of the hottest new products on the web. For more visit heat.io.
HEAT, which launched with a Sheffield based distribution hub in 2019, now has an active 600k+ Gen-Z community.
It has sold more than 100,000 individual units of stock and over 20,000 luxury mystery boxes.
The start-up expanded to include headquarters in London and distribution facilities in Milan. It currently has a team of 15 and plans to develop further distribution hubs in the EU and USA.
Joe, aged 25, from Sheffield, the CEO of HEAT, independently co-founded the company with director Mario Maher, 26.
Announcing today's multi-million dollar investment he said: “HEAT is here to disrupt the traditional approach to luxury fashion.
"We’ll be using this investment to create innovative and immersive e-commerce experiences – implementing gamification, AI-driven personalisation, and interactive drops - all whilst driving sustainability.
"HEAT has created a shopping platform for a digital generation, and we are positioned to make an impact in this space.”
Antler is the world’s largest early-stage investor, supporting hundreds of technology startups and thousands of entrepreneurs across six continents or leading entrepreneurial hubs such as New York, London, Stockholm, Berlin, Bangalore, Singapore, Seoul and Sydney.
Martell Hardenberg, Partner at Antler said: “We are sitting on one of the greatest opportunities in Luxury Retail with consumer behaviour changing dramatically over the coming years. Heat has created a unique platform for consumers and brands alike to create a new shopping and selling experience, while protecting brand integrity. We are excited to back Joe and Mario's vision of driving luxury fashion towards more innovation and sustainability.”
HEAT was founded on an understanding that the fashion industry needs sustainable innovation.
Ready to be part of the solution, HEAT introduced the #HEATBOX, the world's first luxury fashion mystery box. Before long, HEAT was connecting shoppers globally with some of the world's biggest brands.
HEAT has already partnered with more than 60 of the world’s leading luxury brands who share its vision for a sustainable, eco-friendly future including Off-White, Palm Angels, Amiri, Billionaire Boys Club and Casablanca.
This disruptive model solves a problem for brands.
Luxury brands are able to sustainably offload and monetise their surplus inventory in a way that protects brand values, by avoiding discounting, outlets, clearance or landfill. Additionally, the mystery box model also ensures that products get into the hands of extremely valuable Gen-Z shoppers.
They say customers are provided with access to stock that is not often discounted, via a new, engaging and immersive way of shopping -- mystery box via exclusive monthly drops that are ‘hyped’ beforehand online.
The online monthly "drops" allow customers to buy the boxes on a first come first served basis, with drops often selling out within minutes of going live.
Shoppers also become part of the HEAT community, which provides style validation and discovery.