David Beisel’s Perspective on Digital Change
Our Investment in One Jackson: Fresh, Yet Familiar
One Jackson is a new online children’s clothing retailer which is surprisingly fresh – all of its designs were created by independent designers and then curated with love from its community of parents. The results are high-quality fashionable creations at an affordable pricepoint – which look great and are uniquely different from mass clothing brands. Today the company announced that it has raised $2M from a number of investors including us at NextView Ventures. We’re of course are very excited about working with the team and what’s ahead for this company. For us, the investment is certainly fresh and newest in our portfolio, but it also feels familiar.
The company’s familiarity is along what we consider to be the three most important criteria for an investment in a seed-stage startup – team, market, and product:
- Team – Two of the co-founders were well-known to the NextView partnership years before a line of code was even written. CEO Anne Raimondi and my partner Rob were colleagues together at eBay in the early 2000’s before she went on the lead product and/or marketing at many household internet names like Zazzle, InsiderPages, and SurveyMonkey. Her co-founder and CTO Yee Lee worked with both my partner Lee Hower and myself (at PayPal and Venrock, respectively). And Board Member James Reinhart is already part of the NextView family, as CEO of portfolio company, thredUP.
- Market – Through our existing investment in the largest online consignment store for kids clothing, thredUP, which has begun to scale, we were already familiar with the children’s clothing market. Including how large it is – there is $15B spent on U.S. children’s apparel annually, and online retail sales overall are growing 10% year over year. And as a new parent myself, I have first-hand experienced the consumer opportunity for great clothes with fresh designs.
- Product – Lastly, what makes One Jackson unique is the source of the original clothing designs – a community of independent artisans. And while this design sourcing strategy is a unique approach to this category, at NextView we’re very familiar with, and have been actively pursuing investments that fit into a theme of a distributed creative workforce. At our portfolio company CustomMade, we’ve seen the power of a skilled artists community making everything from jewelry to furniture which delight the consumer. Similarly at GrabCAD, where CAD engineers collaborate and create in a community, the collective output has been remarkable. So given our experiences with these businesses which very much rhyme with One Jackson, the familiarity lead us to excitement about another company taking this social-enabled model to a different vertical.
Many of the inputs going into this investment were known to us at NextView. But the end result is something extraordinary, and beyond our expectations. The company has already quietly run a handful of design contests with spectacular results – one-of-a-kind clothing creations, some of which you can purchase right now as part of their initial back-to-school launch line. Through harnessing an intimate community of designers, and a broader one of parents to providing input on their favorite designs, One Jackson has already begun to create a crowd of loyal followers to their brand and unique children’s clothing. Including us here at NextView.