DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: London Sock Company raises 400% of initial funding target; Ola expands presence in Midlands; and Challenger banks struggle against big four.
London Sock Company raises 400% of initial funding target
London Sock Company has raised 428% of an initial £200,000 round on Seedrs, with investment currently at over £850,000. The brand, which sells its socks online via a subscription, was valued at £7.9m before the funding.
Socks are one of the fastest growing apparel categories, forecast to be worth £34bn-£45bn by 2027. The company notes that, for men in particular, they are the new tie.
London Sock Company are leveraging data and AI to deliver a new experience of socks across the UK, US and parts of Asia. The brand achieved £2.2m revenue in 2018, up from £1.2m in 2017.
Almost 90% of their sales are online, direct to consumer, while 10% are B2B, via our luxury retailers such as Fortnum & Mason and Mr Porter online. The brands’ online sales also include recurring subscription orders, through our monthly Sock Club membership.
The capital will be used to fuel growth via technology investment (improving CRM and a sock recommender app), digital marketing investment, and a renewed focus on the US.
Ola expands presence in Midlands
For the past three weeks, drivers from across these communities have been busy in training, after local councils granted Ola with both taxi and private hire licenses – a first for these areas, it said in a statement.
Alok Pandya, Ola’s Regional Manager for the West Midlands, Coventry and Warwick, said: “We are thrilled to expand our service to Coventry and Warwick, having launched in Birmingham earlier this year. We feel immensely proud that our drivers have already provided over one million rides across the UK.”
Ola, which has over 1.5 million drivers across 250 cities in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and India, has started operations in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in early August this year, expanding its services in Australia.
A few weeks ago, Ola had obtained license to launch a self-drive car rental service, from the Karnataka State Transport Department. Last month, Ola expanded its ‘Ola Bike’ offering to 150 cities in India and is looking to scale up its presence further to newer cities over the next 12 months.
Challenger banks struggle against big four
Challenger banks in the U.K. are having a hard time competing with the country’s big four financial institutions.
While challengers such as Metro Bank, Santander and Monzo were expected to put a stop to the dominance of the big four, they are instead failing to thrive, according to the Financial Times. Last week, Santander lost 1.5 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) from the valuation of its business, while shares in Metro Bank fell 30 percent after it was forced to cancel a planned bond sale.
Although lawmakers professed their support in the new competition, the banks said they have been stifled by tough regulation that hinders their ability to grow.
“If you want to promote competition in the sector . . . then you need to make the environment more conducive for them to grow . . . The Bank of England has been quite draconian compared to other parts of the world,” said Lloyd Harris, lead credit portfolio manager at Merian Global Investors, according to the FT.
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