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North West Fund invests in Austin Healey-backed LabelSneak

11 Oct 2012

The North West Fund for Venture Capital, a state-backed vehicle managed by Enterprise Ventures (EV), has made a £525,000 investment in an online men’s fashion business backed by former rugby union player Austin Healey.

LabelSneak was founded last year by Austin’s school friend Ade Shannon and works with leading fashion and sportswear brands to buy excess stock, which is then sold online.

The company, which targets men aged 18 to 36 and offers brands at up to an 80 per cent discount, began as a pilot project selling 2,500 polo shirts on E-bay and now has over 50,000 members.

Shannon is an IT specialist who has implemented many large projects during his career and is currently working with IBM to pioneer a new e-commerce platform within the business.

“While there are some very successful designer outlet sites, LabelSneak is different in targeting brand-aware men,” said Shannon.

“We are continuing to expand the variety of products we offer by negotiating arrangements with different brand owners. Our ultimate aim is to become the preferred clearance partner for the world’s leading menswear brands.”

EV investment director Will Clark added, “Ade is an impressive CEO who has built a team with strong brand connections and product knowledge. They have not only developed a unique concept but also an innovative business model, in terms of the way they buy and manage stock.

“The funding will allow them to boost their marketing and further develop the business through the development of an innovative web platform in conjunction with IBM.”

The North West Fund is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

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