Technical climbing and ski clothing brand Jöttnar have closed their second round of funding with a £400,000 investment from the Development Bank of Wales, Venrex LLP and angel investors, including Paddy Byng, former founding investor and Non-Executive Director (NED) of Rapha, who will also join the business as a NED.
Byng previously headed up the marketing for Polo Ralph Lauren and Dunhill as well as being CEO of Smythson and Asprey. He will help guide Jöttnar through the next stage of their development, including the expansion of the product range with a move in to technical skiwear.
The Cardiff based online retail business was established in 2013 by former Royal Marine commandos Tommy Kelly and Steve Howarth. As lifelong mountaineers, climbers and skiers, the pair were on exercise in the Norwegian mountains during a fierce Arctic winter when they were inspired to launch a range of technical outdoor clothing that would protect against extreme weather conditions, whilst capturing the purity and elegance of the Scandinavian landscape.
Clean lines, disciplined designs, craftsmanship, technology and attention to detail are hallmarks of Jöttnar clothing which is now the choice of guides, mountain rescue teams, expedition groups, specialist military units and professional climbers and skiers all over the world. International sales through Jöttnar’s website now represent over 40% of the business.
Former Wales captain, Sam Warburton, and British actor, Henry Cavill, are amongst a raft of famous names wearing Jöttnar, with Gear Exposure describing the retailer as ‘one of the most exciting brands for hard-core outdoor adventurers.’
This latest equity investment will help to fund the company’s growth via an expanded product range, additional employees and marketing activity. It will also allow the company to continue to innovate in fabric technology, which to date has seen the introduction of market firsts such as water repellent goose down in its insulated jackets and the use of soft and ultra-warm Himalayan yak wool in its base layers. The most recent development has been in its launch of SKJOLDR™, Jöttnar’s proprietary waterproof breathable membrane that it now uses in all of its shell jackets. This is twice as waterproof and twice as strong as the fabric it replaces, but also lightweight and packable. To own the manufacturing and supply of its own waterproof material gives the company agility and quality assurance, with many of its competitor brands relying on off-the-shelf solutions manufactured by third parties.
Co-founder and Director Tommy Kelly said:
“We strive for the highest quality of manufacture; pioneering new fabric technology and construction techniques. Engaging directly with the customer, we have worked hard to build the brand whilst continuing to apply ourselves personally to the small details. We use the gear ourselves and so we know how important these small details are.
“We are now ready to take the next step in developing our offering, which this winter has seen a 40% expansion in the size of our range as well as an addition of key employees. The combined know-how and experience of the development bank, Venrex and our private investors has been invaluable to us. Having such a strong advisory team alongside us equips us well for the road ahead.”
Leanna Davies of the Development Bank of Wales said:
“Tommy and Steve have developed a global reputation as the go-to brand for high quality technical outdoor clothing used by some of the world’s most demanding users.
“Following on from our initial support, our equity investment is a reflection of our belief in them as entrepreneurs and their product. As a niche brand, they have great vision but need a helping hand to reach their full potential. We’re looking forward to working with them on the next stage of their journey.”
Funding for the deal came from The Wales Business Fund is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government. It is designed to provide business loans and equity packages from £50,000 up to £2 million.