As someone who famously hates clothes shopping, it seems odd that English entrepreneur Kieran O’Neill is leading one of Europe’s largest online fashion & personal stylist companies. As co-founder and CEO of Thread, the University of Bath graduate was to have early beginnings in the world of business. At the tender age of 15, O’Neill established one of the first video sharing platforms of its kind: HolyLemon.com was eventually sold to Carl Page for a cool $1.25m.
Now aged 19, O’Neill was in a prime position to pursue further business interests, going on to co-found Playfire, the social network for gamers. Raising over $3.1m in funding from prominent Silicon Valley investors Niklas Zennström, Chris Deering and Michael Birch, Playfire was eventually acquired by Green Man Gaming in 2012. 6 years later, O’Neill has made a departure from the world of gaming to build his British Vogue-listed website, Thread.
The success behind Thread lies in its algorithms which connect stylist with the site’s customers, suggesting clothes that site users will want to wear based upon information the user supplies during sign up. Thread builds a picture of its customers tastes, providing weekly style suggestions edited by a human stylist. Since Thread was established, the AI-driven fashion site has attracted well in excess of $17 million from funding rounds led by Beringea and Balderton Capital, securing the company a place in Silicon Valley’s celebrated Y Combinator seed accelerator program.
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