Our Investment in Betabrand

by Foundry

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Group is the lead investor in a $6.5m Series B investment in Betabrand Corporation.  Located in San Francisco, CA, Betabrand is an online clothing company that creates unique clothing that appeals to an individual’s sense of personal style, exclusivity, and creation.  By creating limited edition “inventions” Betabrand takes the ability to manufacture small batches of clothes while allowing their users to participate in the creation process.

(Model Brad (the “Dude”) is sporting Disco Pants, while the more demure model Jason is wearing the Executive Pinstripe Hoodie).

We’ve been thinking more often about how valuable companies are being built by creating new marketplaces.  We believe that we’ve found a great opportunity in Betabrand to help create a company that embodies many of these principals in the world of online fashion.

Currently, the company allows users to chose which new items will be offered by posting proposals on their website and having prospective customers vote on which ones will be brought to market.  The long-range plan, however, is to allow customers to actually design the clothing, crowd source input and modifications and designs, and then bring the product to life.   Already the company has brought out a few items with this process and predicts that 80% of their items will be generated from their customers and freelance designers.

The company has created a unique distribution model built upon social media.  Called the “Model Citizen” campaign, customers send photographs of themselves wearing Betabrand clothing to the company, which in turn sends them a link they can forward to friends that puts those photos front and center on what looks like the Betabrand home page. (In fact, it’s a personalized version made just for them.)  In the future, one will be able to shop by only viewing things that interest friends in their social circles.  In some cases, they may limit the purchase of a particular item to only one person in a social circle to ensure exclusivity.

The company was founded by Chris Lindland who previously invented Cordarounds.  We are excited to work with the team.  And if you happen to see us wearing some cool new clothes around town, it’s probably Betabrand gear!