LONDON, United Kingdom — Luxury hosiery start-up Heist has secured £2 million ($2.6 million) in seed funding from investors including Dame Natalie Massenet.
Also contributing to the round are New York fund 14W; Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright, the founders of the Innocent Drinks company; and Bella Freud and Alexachung investor Pembroke VCT. This third funding round (following two angel rounds in November 2015 and July 2017) brings total company investment to about $4 million.
The new capital will be used to help London-based Heist expand beyond its core offering of 3D knitted tights. “We see underwear as a category that is just failing women on both a rational product level and on an emotional brand level,” chief executive Toby Darbyshire tells BoF. “Our particular focus is: how can you use product innovation to create products that are actually designed for the wearer? This [funding] is the first step in expanding our tights business, which is growing very fast, and also putting in place the framework for what products come after tights.”
Heist, which launched in late 2015, has enjoyed 25 percent month-on-month growth since its inception. “We should be on course to make between $5 million and $7 million in revenue this year,” Darbyshire estimates.
Indeed, the company is benefiting from a growing global marketplace. According to Euromonitor International, the global women's underwear market was worth $75.3 billion in 2016, while the hosiery market was worth $52.7 billion; they are forecast to reach $85 billion and $55.6 billion respectively by 2021.
Darbyshire also hopes that the funding will help facilitate the brand’s global expansion: “We’re already shipping to 39 countries; this [capital] allows us to expand our network and start being a genuinely global company based out of the UK,” he says.