Fine menswear etailer Combat Gent raises $1.84M and adds former Gucci board member as Chairman

By Michael Carney , written on June 19, 2013

From The News Desk

One month ago, the founders of online haberdashery Combat Gent uprooted their young Los Angeles-based startup and and moved to Las Vegas. Today, the reasoning behind that move became more clear and our previous hunches were confirmed, as the company announced $1.84 million in Seed funding led by VegasTechFund*, with participation from MHS Capital, Greycroft Partners, Naxuri Capital, Blazer Ventures, Berlin’s Point Nine Capital, and Flint and Tinder’s Jake Bornstein.

Combat Gent was the first ever company accepted to Redwood City-based FT Accelerator, which focuses exclusively on startups at the intersection of fashion and technology. The company has since added the accelerator's managing partner Enrico Beltrami, a managing director at Naxuri Capital and former Gucci board member,  as chairman of its board.

As part of today’s announcement, the company announced that co-founders Vishaal and Mo Melwani have been named venture partners at FT Accelerator and will advise future participating companies on key decisions during their formative period. Given the pair’s background, it’s less surprising than it seems. The Melwani cousins have been in the garment business their whole lives, growing up in the back of family operated Versace boutiques in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Their family includes generations of tailors, seamstresses, and designers, meaning that high fashion, fine craftsmanship, and customer service are in their blood.

Combat Gent made its name on high quality custom suits, shirts, and ties sold at value pricing – $160 for suits, $25 for shirts, and $16 for ties. Recently, the company partnered with Andreazza & Castelli to source fine Italian Super 120’s cotton for use in a limited Italian shirt collection that will be available in six patterns at $40 per piece. Next on the list of product line expansions are men’s denim and small luggage, such as totes and messenger bags. All of the product is designed by the Melwanis and is manufactured in its Downtown vegas facility within Stitch Factory.

The company has grown to more than 72,000 active members and generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue each month. More importantly, it’s been seeing a significant rates of repeat business and has a product-return rate of just 12 percent, which is unusually low for fashion ecommerce.

Combat Gent has an approachable aesthetic and has thus far been able to deliver quality at price points that appeal to the masses. Its challenge will be continuing to hit these three targets, while also focusing on scale and margins in the notoriously difficult space. The company must competing with the likes of Indochino, Frank & Oak, Jay Hilburn, Fourth & Grand, 20Jeans, and a myriad of others for mind and wallet share.

With Versace and now Gucci heritage running through its executive suite and its boardroom, and with the additional capital from today’s round, the company appears as well positioned as any to tackle the still wide open men’s fashion ecommerce category.

(*VegasTechFund founder Tony Hsieh is an investor in PandoDaily.)