Loopster, the online platform which closes the loop between the use and reuse of second-hand clothes, has secured a six-figure seed equity funding round led by the Development Bank of Wales.
Investing alongside the Development Bank is business angel Jim Lewcock, who owns the internet-focused venture capital Blue14, and experienced non-executive director and angel investor Kate Methuen-Ley. The funding will help Loopster to further develop and commercialise their technology, enabling their platform to catalogue second-hand clothes faster. The Newport-based company will also use the funding to recruit six members of staff. This process is currently underway.
A recent survey by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce found during the coronavirus crisis 50% of consumers believed the fashion industry should do whatever it takes to become more environmentally sustainable.
Extending the life of one garment through second-hand use by just nine months reduces its carbon and water footprint by 20 to 30%.
This is where technology company Loopster has stepped in.
Starting with children’s wear, Loopster offers customers a quick and convenient way to buy and sell quality second-hand clothes.
To sell to Loopster, customers order the Loopy Clear Out Bag and fill it up with unwanted clothes. Loopster then hand-checks every donated item to ensure they are good quality. Parents are paid for items which make the grade which are then sold on at a fraction of new high street prices. Clothes which do not pass the hand-check are returned to the seller, or if they agree, donated to the charity Traid.
Following the success of their children’s clothing service Loopster are now scaling up to include womenswear on their platform.
Founder and CEO Jane Fellner said: “People are starting to be more conscious of the importance of sustainable clothing. We’ve already seen a 50% increase in sales this financial year as consumers seek out more environmentally conscious fashion options.
“With the Welsh Government leading the charge to tackle the climate crisis we are thrilled to have the support of the Development Bank of Wales as our lead investor. Their equity finance is helping us grow our team and our platform further. We really hope as we enter the new normal, that one silver-lining will be creating a more sustainable future.”
Technology Investment Executive Alex Leigh who led the deal on behalf of Development Bank of Wales said: “Loopster has a really scalable hardware-software solution that addresses an important need within the babywear and children’s fashion sector. They’re helping clothes have an extra lease of life instead of ending up in landfill, which will have a positive environmental impact. We’re looking forward to working with the team and company as they grow and move in to other fashion retail markets.”
BLUE14 is a digital marketing and investment group specialising in the direct-to-consumer market. Managing Director and investor Jim Lewcock said: “This purposeful start-up is delivering value-innovation for its customers. I’m delighted to be supporting Loopster build a sustainable fashion brand that helps its customers save money and the planet. What’s not to like?”