London-based start-up luxury mystery box platform Heat landed $5 million in seed funding led by Antler and LVMH Luxury Ventures.
WHO: Launched in 2019 by Gen Z founders Joe Wilkinson and Mario Maher, Heat allows luxury brands to monetize unsold inventory through buzzy drops of surprise merchandise. The platform purchases unsold inventory from over 60 luxury brand partners to curate its mystery boxes of clothing and accessories, sold in drops on Instagram and YouTube to Gen Z fashion fans. The boxes are priced at $400 for two to three products worth $675 or $675 for two to four products worth $1200.
WHY: This investment will allow the platform to recruit new luxury partners, build out retail, and gamify the website while continuing to drive sustainability.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Joe Wilkinson, CEO of Heat, said the funding would also enable the company to create "a shopping platform for a digital generation, and [we] are positioned to continue to innovate and make an impact in this space."
“Heat is successfully pioneering a unique and virtuous model reconciling desirability, circularity and price accessibility," Julie Bercovy, founder and Head of LVMH Luxury Ventures, told Vogue Business. "We are very impressed by the ability of Joe and the team to build such a robust and wide fan base in a short time frame. The loyalty and enthusiasm of the Heat community demonstrates the relevance of this approach and the desirability of Heat's curation.”
“Heat's young founders were an attractive bet with their authentic ties to streetwear culture and social media, says Antler partner Martell Hardenberg, who co-founded South Asia's leading e-commerce platform Lazada, acquired by Alibaba in 2016. "Joe and Mario truly represent the Gen Z customer group. They understand a lot about branding. They understand the brands that we're selling through the platform" he says, adding that Antler's analysis of the business showed strong social media engagement ratios and "incredible" traction.”
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